Opening the show with a kaftan, black and sparkling with dimensional embroidery on chiffon, Elie Saab introduced a story of Ottoman richness and spring spiraling (iron work?) motifs. Worn over a lace body suit, the delicate femininity of Saab’s creations whispered its presence. The romantic undertones of these layers spoke of a duality between what is seen and unseen. Layers of varied opacity were a tool of exploration in other instances during the show. One quick reference to a new silhouette was just enough to introduce the key elements of the season: layers, Ottoman motifs, and palace decadence.
Quickly nipping back in at the waist, the rest of the collection remained controlled by his skinny belts, some gold plated metal. Subtle gestures with volume, especially in the sleeves, changed the feeling of the silhouette, relaxing it without losing the slim shape of the arm. In his own way, breaking from the usual suspects, Saab used fabrics like a gold on pink or gold on blue silk jacquard that were unusually heavy and stiff for his haute couture runway. It was nice to see pieces that solidified the silhouettes with more visual weight. That being said, another high point was the ephemeral print mixing images of a decadent interior with lush greenery, blending the indoor and out. One dress with slender straps and an open back rose up in the front, finished with a lace trim across the bust, delicate with its scalloped edge. Elongated diamond shaped seams at the hip divided bodice and skirt, with extra volume fanning out toward the hem and the weight of the excess pulling down, creating the impression of gathers under the seam.
Furthering the sense of romance in the collection, a smoky grey color added mystery that soon evolved into rich champagne tones. A gold leaf technique decorated organza in large floral motifs or Ottoman ironwork patterns winding along on at least two of the slightly transparent layers. The final gown, a full skirt and long train, ever the statement for Saab’s finale moment, incorporated the gold leafing in the skirt while leaving the long sleeves and bodice in lace with large encrusted brooches in the form of starbursts. Graceful and decadent, this dress concluded a show inspired by man made motifs rather than the natural sources Saab looked to in previous seasons. The result was none the less flawless, and even a progression of ideas that he has opened his mind to.
Designer: Elie Saab
Designer website: www.eliesaab.com