Things were all a bit schizophrenic in Paris last week. One moment hot sunshine; the next torrential downpours.
One moment the most classic, covetable couture for winter 2008 you could hope for; the next an unimaginative muddle that is surely flying in the face of the economic downturn.
While the Chanel collection was not my favourite - too many weird 'wings' on hips (which if you actually have hips will make you look impossibly bulky), and over-puffy shoulders reminiscent of milk maids, and hobble skirts - when I looked at the collection in the showroom the next day, I couldn't help but be impressed by the craftsmanship in every stitch.
Karl Lagerfeld was, yet again trying to nod towards the younger customer, with lots of short skirts, but there was still enough here for the superannuated customer, too.
Quite special were the boucle wool coats over simple dresses (but a bit hot, surely, what with global warming?), the tweed skirts made soft with fringing, and the hourglass evening dresses with sweetheart necklines, silver beading and satin column skirts.
And I loved the shoes, too: pointy-toed courts and not a wedge in sight.
The Christian Lacroix show in the all-glass Pompidou Centre, that was so hot I felt like a tomato, was as you might expect: lots of black, gothic chantilly lace, bows, embroidery, pearls and rhinestones.
I can appreciate that each Lacroix couture gown can take up to 400 hours to make, but I cannot see who will wear it other than Middle Eastern princesses.
But the real disappointment of the week was the show by Jean Paul Gaultier.
There were too many black jersey skirts and leather coats that made me think: is this really couture? Is this new? Isn't this a bit, well, ugly?
Rather than concentrate on sending out more of his trademark liquid evening columns, which he does so very well, he fiddled with intricate latticework edifices, like those fancy biscuits you get with ice cream.
The only garments I liked were a cream, plisse trench, an elegant black tux with spangles, and a chiffon blouse tucked into very high, very fluid trousers (think Carole Lombard in My Man Godfrey).
And, yet again, Gaultier used far too much fur: I think I am going to have to boycott him next season.
I absolutely adored the Valentino collection, held in a beautiful salon on the Place Vendome in the presence of Maria Sharapova, who took advantage of being knocked out of Wimbledon to spend a few days shopping in Paris, and Giorgio Armani, presumably here to pick up a few pointers.
(I was barred from the Armani Prive collection, presumably because I had been less than flattering about the vintage Armani dressing coat Victoria Beckham wore in New York recently).
Designer Alessandra Facchinetti, who took over the reins when MrValentino retired to spend more time topping up his tan, is really beginning to make the label her own.
This, her first couture collection, was remarkably assured. She will not have alienated the typical Valentino customer - a lady who lunches - with her little two-piece suits, but they are now much more modern, quite stiff and deliciously curvy.
The embroidery and detailing was exquisite - you can see in every loving stitch that these designs were sewn by the hugely talented seamstresses in the Paris atelier, not thrown together by children in sweatshops.
Yes, of course, the couture cocktail dresses and evening dresses are wildly expensive, but without couture raising the bar and showing what is possible, standards in readyto-wear and, consequently, the High Street would plummet.
But by far the most breathtaking collection all week was that from John Galliano at Dior.
He seems to have abandoned his more fanciful, unwearable side and come up with a collection that was just beautiful, with an old-fashioned elegance that will perfectly suit the chic-but- sexy-underneath personality of his newest devoted customer, Madame Sarkozy.
Everything was light, as if spun from spider's webs, in Love Heart colours such as eau de nil, violet and lime.
The only detail that spoilt the show for me (and a trend Carla Sarkozy has, thankfully, ignored, especially since she has to sprint up steps onto planes while retaining her dignity) was Galliano's refusal to abandon the clumpy, ugly, impossibly high bondage shoe.
They might anchor the floaty looks and inject modernity into the outfits, but I still think they rob the models of their elegance.
Roland Mouret, the master of the sexy red-carpet dress, also showed in Paris last week.
No, it wasn't couture, but his ready-to-wear RM collection. And, no, it wasn't for autumn/winter, but instead a cruise collection for next spring.
Confused? Well, all you need to know is that the dresses and neat Miss Moneypenny pencils were fabulous: asymmetric shapes draped expertly around the body in putty colours or black. And that they reach stores in mid-November. A classic collection and seriously, subtly sexy.
Just a note here on the models. There were some fresh new faces in Paris last week that indicated we might, just might, be over that whole Bambi-limbed, Eastern European refugee look.
The most notable newcomer was New Yorker Camille Mervin Leroy, who has a strong, almost plain face that reminded me of Sloane Condren, the wholesome model made famous in the late Seventies by Bruce Weber.
And the best news of all was that London beauty Jourdan Dunn was chosen again and again by all the top names and can now take her place as a worthy heir to Naomi Campbell's crown. She is the first, we hope, of many new black stars to come.