LIKELY to be voted one of the most beautiful collections of the season, Tomas Maier's show for Bottega Veneta this morning was the perfect respite from the Milanese rain - which feels even more unfair because we know London is gloriously sunny.
It was a strange sight to see Janet Jackson in the front row - of all the Versaces, Guccis and even, these days, Emilio Puccis she could have chosen, it was surprising to see her here. But she seemed as taken with it as we all were - shaking her head at the end, it looked like she was fighting back tears.
Founded in 1966 and acquired by the Gucci Group in 2001, which almost immediately brought Tomas Maier on board, Bottega has a reputation for old school elegance and unwavering standards.
Today it took on a slightly more casual persona as if the BV woman will be off duty, but certainly no less chic, next summer.
White cotton, edged in cream, made up milkmaid dresses with slashed or funnel necklines and wraparound blouses. Panelled white bra tops came under roomy jersey vests and white silk all-in-ones were accessorised with a purple or yellow scarf thrown around the neck and totes and espadrilles made of what looked like woven raffia but were in fact nappa leather.
Possibly the most luxurious tracksuit bottoms in the world were teamed with creamy leather cropped jackets, while tailored long silk shorts had matching shirts tucked in to them.
Pintucked cotton spaghetti-strapped white dresses and fine linen strapless ones, with a wisp of pale gold chiffon spun around the top, were romantic and easy to wear, while others came fuller down one side where the seam opened to flash an inner lining of egg yolk yellow.
Eveningwear comprised sumptuous grosgrain and silk ballerina length dresses of mustard or burgundy, with heavy metallic necklaces that looked deliciously noisy. A finale of strapless full-length dresses, in lavender, purple or red, with gathered bodices and frothy chiffon skirts, set us up for a gorgeously feminine season.
"Creative collaboration inspires much of what we do at Bottega Veneta," says Maier. "This season we expanded on that fact, designing as if in collaboration with the woman wearing our clothes. In a sense, the clothes are 'blank' until she puts them on."