Quite like a painter approaches a canvas, an Elie Saab collection is a manifestation of inspiration through surface treatments on shapes that recur seasonally, an exploration of media on a blank toile. This seemed particularly appropriate this season with a collection that seemed to have walked directly out of the canvas of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s The Roses of Heliogabalus. The painting, a Roman scene in which the guests of the Emperor are buried in rose petals in an attempt to smother them, disguises its sinister objective with the seemingly decadent display, while clusters of petals, caught in the wind, dance across the canvas through the air.
This buoyant scene, and those of ladies in soft draped roman attire in settings of white marble and clear water, with pale rich golden yellows and cerulean blue skies, took life in the tints of silk and lace. A few wrap dresses in Roman style recalled the apparel of the era represented in the tableau, but the cuts and variety of silhouettes otherwise remained mostly fitted, embellished bodices and long flowing, or more voluminous skirts. Many waists demarcated by the signature skinny belt in matching tones.
The show concluded with dresses boasting artwork embroideries derived from the colors and shapes of the paintings, before leading into a series of black gowns. Maybe to suggest the sinister end intended in the roses, or maybe as punctuation to close the show, the black had a sobering effect after the delicate and studied bouquet of colors. Like a painting can capture a narrative in one unmoving scene, so did this collection that unraveled like a story that ends sadly, but becomes more beautiful for its tragedy and meaning that never fades even through changing times.
Designer Site: www.ElieSaab.com
Publicity: Paul Wilmot Communications
Photos: Courtesy of Designe