With Sofia Coppola and Brie Larson in the seats, Valentino takes us to the church of couture

With Sofia Coppola and Brie Larson in the audience, Valentino designer Pierpaolo PIcciolo took us to the church of couture on Wednesday, presenting one of the best collections of the week.

Stunning in its simplicity and its modesty, as several collections have been this couture season (a few of the Valentino styles, including capes and hooded robes, actually resembled liturgical garb), the designer's Fall 2017 offering reaffirmed the tradition of haute couture, the made-to-measure, handcrafted art form that is the fashion equivalent of the slow food movement.

See all the looks right here:

62 PHOTOS
Valentino: Fall 2017 Couture
See Gallery
Valentino: Fall 2017 Couture

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

(Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage)

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

(Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage)

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 

Getty

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

By chance, I happened to arrive late to the show, so I caught the collection from backstage, where I got to see up-close the extraordinary craftsmanship on each look (a beige, yellow and pink dress inlayed with mink fur, for example, and an orange long-sleeve dress embroidered with taffeta, baroque pearls and gold thread), as well as the pride of the atelier workers who were delicately fluffing dress trains and de-linting coats up until the second the models walked out onto the runway.

"The authentic value of haute couture cannot be visible," Piccioli wrote in his show notes. "It's sacred...;rituals that repeat, gestures that exalt." The serious silhouettes and concept could have translated into something heavy-handed, but Piccioli kept it light and modern with a raspberry pink balloon sleeve gown with an airy voluminous train, and an expertly color-blocked ensemble of pink full pants and a caramel cape.

The collection achieved something that was classic and new at the same time, but above all luxurious in a personal way that's not just about propping up a brand name. It was a coup for the designer — and for his dedicated petites mains, as they call them in French, the craftspeople who make it all a reality.

Exquisite workmanship was also on display at Fendi, in what could be designer Karl Lagerfeld's final runway show for the house. (From his three runway bows, it sure seemed that way.) The Italian furrier hosted its show at a theater, with Coppola (who was there to support the Fendi family whom she relates to in her "Italianness," she said), Isabelle Huppert, L.A. socialite Christine Chiu and more in the seats.

Embroidered with flowers that were barely recognizable as being made from fur, dresses and coats were blooming with pattern and texture, while other pieces were made of fur knit as fine as cashmere. It was a folkloric garden of delights, especially the opening look, a red knitted fur cape dress covered in roses. What a way to bow out, if Lagerfeld was bowing out. Pure joy.

Elsewhere on the runways on Wednesday, the glamour was more conspicuous, namely the red-carpet bonanza that was the blush-toned, ostrich feather trimmed Zuhair Murad show. There was plenty for starlets and royals alike to love, including caped gowns, dresses with feather-trimmed tiered skirts, sheer embroidered bodices, tulle collars and more.

At Elie Saab, the look very over-the-top Game of Thrones. Models wore plunge-front gowns with long sleeves, lavish coats and capes covered in golden filigree-like embroidery, pearls, sequins and feathers. If it sounds like a medieval fairytale, it looked like one, too, but these were no damsels in distress. These were females empowered, warrior queens. Because even in the land of couture, women today need armor.

See all the famous faces sitting front row in Paris:

51 PHOTOS
Front row at Paris Fashion Week 2017
See Gallery
Front row at Paris Fashion Week 2017
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: Actress Sophia Loren attends the Giorgio Armani Prive Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 05: Olivia Palermo is seen arriving at Valentino fashion show during the Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 on July 5, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/GC Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 05: Brie Larson attends the Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 5, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 05: Kathy Hilton is seen arriving at Valentino fashion show during the Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 on July 5, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/GC Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 05: Nicky Hilton Rothschild is seen arriving at Valentino fashion show during the Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 on July 5, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/GC Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Celine Dion outside Dior during Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 : Day Two on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Celine Dion, Hamish Bowles and Anna Wintour attend the Giambattista Valli Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 05: Actress Isabelle Huppert, Actress Elsa Zylberstein, Actress Karin Viard and Actress Clotilde Courau attend the Lan Yu Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 5, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Laurent Viteur/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: Tilda Swinton is seen arriving at the 'Chanel' show during Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/GC Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 05: Coco Rocha and daughter Yoni Conran attend the Bonpoint Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 5, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 05: Elena Perminova attends the Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 5, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 05: Karidja Toure, Deborah Francois, Clotilde Courau, Roxane Mesquida and Olivia Palermo attend the Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 5, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: (L-R) Naomi Watts, Sophia Loren and Roberta Armani attend the Giorgio Armani Prive Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Actress Jennifer Lawrence is seen on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/GC Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: Actress Sophia Loren attends the Giorgio Armani Prive Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: Actress Kate Winslet attends the Giorgio Armani Prive Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Tracee Ellis Ross and Melissa George attend the Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: Cara Delevingne attends the Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: (L-R) Lily Collins, Rowan Blanchard and Caroline de Maigret attend the Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Zendaya and Law Roach attends the Ralph & Russo Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Elizabeth Olsen attends the Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Michelle Rodriguez, Mohammed Al Turki Ellen von Unwerth attend the Ralph & Russo Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Celine Dion and Hamish Bowles attend the Giambattista Valli Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Anna Wintour attends the Giambattista Valli Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 02: Actress Kirsten Dunst attends the Rodarte Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 2, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: (L-R) Actresses Julianne Moore and Kristen Stewart attend the Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: Actress Kristen Stewart attends the Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Foc Kan/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Natalie Portman is seen arriving at the 'Christian Dior' show during Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pierre Suu/GC Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Actress Jennifer Lawrence attends the Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: Model Emily Ratajkowski attends Vogue Foundation Dinner during Paris Fashion Week as part of Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 at Musee Galliera on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: Tilda Swinton attends the Vogue Foundation Dinner during Paris Fashion Week as part of Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 at Musee Galliera on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Julien Hekimian/Getty Images for Vogue)
US singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams poses during a photocall upon arriving at a launch event for the new Chanel perfume 'Gabrielle', at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, on July 4, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Thomas SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: Pharrell Williams and Helen Lasichanh attends the 'Chanel' show during Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Danny Martindale/GC Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: Claudia Schiffer attends the Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Foc Kan/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: Bella Hadid attends the Vogue Foundation Dinner during Paris Fashion Week as part of Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 at Musee Galliera on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Julien Hekimian/Getty Images for Vogue)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Zendaya attends the Ralph & Russo Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Actor Robert Pattinson attends the Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: Tracee Ellis Ross is seen arriving at the 'Chanel' show during Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/GC Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Sidney Toledano, a guest and Kirsten Dunst attend the Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Peter White/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Elizabeth Olsen attends 'Christian Dior, couturier du reve' Exhibition Launch celebrating 70 years of creation at Musee Des Arts Decoratifs on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images for Christian Dior)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Model Karlie Kloss attends the Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Michelle Rodriguez attends the Ralph & Russo Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: (L-R) Roberta Armani, Kate Winslet, Priyanka Chopra and Ana de Armas attend the Giorgio Armani Prive Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: (L-R) Barbara Palvin and Nanao Arai attend the Giorgio Armani Prive Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: Kaya Scodelario attends the Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Foc Kan/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: Director Sofia Coppola attends the Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 05: Sofia Coppola attends the Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 5, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 04: Actress Lily Collins attends the Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 06: (L-R) Models Cara Delevingne and Georgia May Jagger attend the 'Don't Take it Personally' by Jade Jagger & Jean-Baptiste Pauchard Exhibition Party on July 6, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - MAY 31: Lily-Rose Depp attends the CHANEL Metiers D'art Collection Paris Cosmopolite show at the Tsunamachi Mitsui Club on May 31, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jun Sato/WireImage)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Like AOL Lifestyle on Facebook