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PARIS (Reuters) - Exquisite craftsmanship wrapped up Paris haute couture week, with luxury fashion brands presenting sweeping, intricately detailed gowns aimed at the spring wardrobes of some of the world's richest women.
Chinese designer Guo Pei made her Paris haute couture debut late on Wednesday with an array of sumptuous dresses for a collection she said was called "the emperor's courtyard".
Guo was catapulted into the international spotlight in May when singer Rihanna wore her 25-kg (55 lb) fur-trimmed, flower embroidered cape dress to the ball at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the biggest nights in the fashion year.
With her catwalk reminiscent of a Chinese royal courtyard, the brand designer turned haute couture stylist presented richly embroidered and jewel-encrusted dresses, skirts and cloaks in gold, pastel blue and pink, yellow and white.
"This collection is some kind of gift to Paris and also you will see that there are elements from the Chinese tradition and many things are handmade," she said backstage.
Earlier on Wednesday, Italian fashion house Valentino unveiled "a collection with a lyrical touch", presenting lavish dresses, all showing off carefully crafted detailing.
On a petal-strewn catwalk, models walked barefoot in velvet, pleated and brocade gowns, Grecian style dresses and overlapping tunics, as well as patchwork and kimono-style coats, their heads adorned with gold snake headpieces.
The fashion house said creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli took inspiration from Mariano Fortuny, describing the designer who was known for his pleated dresses as "the artist on the borderline between Eastern Byzantine and Western Classic".
Their creations, in gold, red, green and black and some transparent, were decorated with various designs, including peacock feathers and dragons, and sometimes accessorized with gold jewelry running along models' torsos and shoulders.
The two shows wrapped up this week's spring 2016 haute couture calendar, which also saw presentations from luxury brands Chanel, Dior and Versace among others.
Reporting By Pascale Antonie and Reuters Television in Paris; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London; Editing by Catherine Evans