Bottega Veneta's leather pieces are some of today's greatest staples, so it may be hard to imagine that less than a decade ago, the house was on the verge of breakdown. But in came the Gucci Group with designer Tomas Maier, et voilá, the label was reinstated in the glory it deserved, with its understated luxe, rich leather bags and clean lines.

Ever since, Bottega Veneta hasn't ceased to inspire not only its loyal clients and fans but many of its more established peers. For autumn/winter 2010, black leather is back with a vengeance on trousers, leggings, vests and shirts, joined on the catwalk by soft and dark shades of grey, bottle green, rich plum and navy.

A series of softly draped little dresses, jodhpurs, tops and an all-in-one were followed by cocktail dresses in taffeta. Utilitarian jackets cut out of this softly glowing fabric made the transition back to black leather seamless. The shift from day to evening was all about combining different fabrics and about embellishment, but not quite the traditional way.

Intricate panelling, leather belts, embellished shoulders and necklines with subtle but striking appliqués, transparencies and metallic accessories provided the surprise elements to the shift and flowing dresses we have coveted for many a season.

After a couple of the best cut trousers suits the world has ever seen, comes another surprise attack. Maier, apparently, has decided to sneak a few natural colours and prints into the cold seasons, in the form of dresses that would make any spring collection proud.

As it happens, we are out of gasps of surprise well before flashes of passionate reds and candy pinks in silk and -can you guess? - yes, leather, are hurled into our faces. Still, whatever, bring it on! Besides the fact that the collection is breathtakingly beautiful, it honours us with loads to look forward to as the days grow cold again.

See for yourself:

runway stills:

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