There has never been a couturier who can tie a big, fat, gorgeous satin bow to equal Valentino Garavani. To those with a love of fashion history, the whole of his extensive and glorious oeuvre might be reduced to that one symbol. So perhaps that's why he chose it—picked out in glitter on the backdrop—as the central motif for his new collection.

Self-confidence and total certainty about his clients are the sensations that radiate from Valentino's truly haute couture. His dainty sable-trimmed tweeds and cream-color, draped satin day suits speak to a world the designer and his ladies cohabit in a style serenely untouched by time. Details will come and go—this season it's bows, a smattering of fringe, inserts of crystal embroidered roses, satin rouleaux ribbons, perhaps a hint of Chinoiserie—but essentially it's all a matter of lunch, cocktails, and dinner as usual.

At this stage in Valentino's career, it would be churlish—ignorant even—to do anything but sit back and marvel at his work. For young women like Gwyneth Paltrow sitting in the front row, the chance to dip into that precious bubble of fragile, protected femininity is a rare treat in a rough-and-ready world. And if his gowns—like the red, ruffled duchesse satin spectacular—rise above trend and have never heard of edginess, then so much the better. Who'd want him to do anything else?