Extreme intricacy — in the form of carved heels, handcrafted beading and sculpted platforms — retained its power as the footwear signature of Paris’ couture collections. For spring ’09, Valentino’s new co-directors, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, and veteran couturiers Christian Lacroix and Jean Paul Gaultier romanticized classic pumps with ruffles, embroidery and beading. Laurence Dacade at Chanel and Elie Saab both opted for chunkier aesthetics, showing extreme platforms that helped ground billowing dresses. But it was Giorgio Armani for Armani Privé and John Galliano at Christian Dior who showed the most show-stopping spring silhouettes: platform sandals with swirling carved heels. Here, FN presents the couture collections’ most ravishing styles.