Christian Dior Armani Prive Chanel haute couture fall 2010 runway looks

From left to right: Flower power at Christian Dior; Supreme elegance at Armani Prive; Tough chic girls at Chanel. Photo: Karl Prouse/Catwalking/Getty Images and Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

Oh, couture. It's the place where the wildest of fashion dreams are realized and, luckily, the most recent Fall 2010 Couture shows didn't disappoint in the least.

Here, a breakdown of the best of the best:

  • It was absolute floral madness over at Christian Dior, where the always over-the-top John Galliano turned his models into literal flowers courtesy of cinched-waist jackets, voluminous tulip-shaped skirts, and overflowing ballgowns dripping in petal-like silk and feathers, along with gravity-defying ponytails wrapped in colored cellophane. If you've ever wondered what it's like to be trapped in a Takashi Murakami pop art-meets-anime painting, we think this will get you pretty close.
  • Celebrity favorite Elie Saab sent plenty of red carpet-worthy gowns down the couture runway, which is likely a preview for what Saab fans like Scarlett Johansson, Marion Cotillard, Sandra Bullock and Kristen Stewart will be wearing next. Lava red, dusty aquamarine and sparkling gold hues ruled the show, as did beautiful beading work, Grecian draping and one-sleeved dresses.
  • At Chanel Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld dreamt up a dark fairytale of sorts for the star-studded audience, which included Jessica Alba, Blake Lively, Leighton Meister and new Gossip Girl cast member Clémence Poésy. Centered in the middle of the stage was a gargantuan gold lion with its paw resting on a pearl that the models stomped out of, wearing thick high-waisted tweed skirts and cropped bold shoulder jackets with three-quarter sleeves. The latter came in a moody palette of ox blood red, black, taupe and gold and were often heavily embellished and embroidered. The same boxy-up-top, straight-on-the-bottom silhouette ruled throughout the presentation, which ended with models Iris Strubegger and Baptiste Giabiconi, wearing an elaborate lion head, walking hand in hand.
  • What Riccardo Tisci's Givenchy collection lacked in length, it more than made up for in standout pieces. Inspired by the human skeleton, the ten floor-skimming gowns featured intricate bone-shaped beading sewn into see-through white and cream dresses punctuated with feathered and embroidered hems. Bulky strong shouldered coats reminiscent of armor, some made entirely of shaggy hair fringe, topped the delicate dresses, which also came in black and glittering gold -- a hue seen in many of this season's collections.
Elie Saab Jean-Paul Gaultier Valentino haute couture fall 2010 runway looks

Red carpet ready at Elie Saab; old Hollywood glam at Jean-Paul Gaultier; and sexy-sweet at Valentino. Photos: Getty Images | AP | Getty Images

  • Giorgio Armani didn't continue the futuristic, silver-hued fantasy of that was successful last season (a collection favored by Cate Blanchett, J. Lo, Lady Gaga and Amanda Seyfried). Instead, for his pared-down Fall Armani Privé collection, the designer kept things grounded with clean and minimal silhouettes (embellished by innovative draping techniques) and beaded column dresses in coopery hues.
  • Jean Paul Gaultier also did a 180 from last season, trading in his festive Mexican inspiration from Spring 2010 (complete with couture sombreros) for the more sophisticated idea of Old Hollywood (complete with long stem cigarette holders) this time 'round. The mostly black collection, which had a vaguely surrealist feel, featured plenty of curve-hugging gowns -- one worn down the runway by Dita Von Teese -- that played with proportions in the shoulders and hips. Gaultier also presented his signatures like leather and reconfigured trenches, including an all white trench coat wedding dress finale.
  • Perhaps complaints of a very un-Valentino-like collection last season compelled Valentino Couture designers Pier Paolo Piccoli and Maria Grazia Chiuri to inject more of the house's iconic elements -- such as bright red shades, ladylike bows and handmade lace -- into this season's offerings, which focused on sexy-yet-sweet drop-waist babydoll mini-dresses.
To see how these collections stack up against last season's offerings, check out our coverage of the best -- and wildest -- of the Spring 2010 Couture collections.