* Gold aplenty adorns gowns at Saab's couture show
* Orientalism inspires flowing, embroidered finery
By Alexandria Sage
PARIS, July 4 Byzantine opulence and splendour
worthy of a sultan's harem greeted guests at Elie Saab's fashion
show on Wednesday, as the Lebanese designer beloved of the
Hollywood set presented a fantasy collection spun from
embroidered tulle and lace.
Saab, who is known for his red carpet creations, said he was
inspired by Constantinople for his autumn/winter 2012-2013 Haute
Couture collection, and indeed the gold, shimmer and sparkle
overflowed in the pillared Paris reception hall on the Rue
"As if lifted from a palace along the banks of the Bosporus,
Ottoman motifs subtly infuse the collection with imperial
splendour," read the collection notes, in a description designed
to encourage the well-heeled to open their wallets.
Opening the show was a black tulle caftan dripping with
lace, sequin and pearl embroidery guaranteed to ensure a
dramatic entrance on either side of the Bosporus.
Another black stunner featured an embroidered bodice and
hips and flowing sleeves that draped behind the gown like a
train, imparting a regal aspect to the belted look.
With high necklines and elaborate embroidered bodices, many
gowns recalled the finery of an Edwardian era predisposed to
hedonism and a fantasy-inspired vision of the Orient.
Despite a debut in black, Saab opted for warmer hues of
champagne, taupe, rose, sky blue and jade for most of the
collection, with a special emphasis on shimmering gold.
"I didn't like to use the colours of winter," explained Saab
after the show.
He said that, because of their intricate beads, sequins and
embroidery, it takes about six months for his atelier to create
an elaborate wedding gown such as the full-skirted one that
closed the show.
NO STARLETS PLEASE
The designer played with concepts of weight. While the
peek-a-boo lace and light, warm colours of many dresses hinted
at the ethereal, the rich embroidery covering the gowns imparted
weight and gravitas.
These were not gowns for superficial starlets, and the
covered shoulders and arms on most of the evening dresses are
sure to sit well with more mature fans of Saab's art.
Still, the ideal wearer of Saab's fashion would be long and
lean to highlight the flowing transparent lace and tulle
pervasive in a collection with the occasional exposed back.
Saab's gowns have been regulars on the red carpet since
2002, when the designer was thrust into the limelight after
Halle Berry accepted an Oscar award wearing his burgundy gown
with a full skirt and see-through top.
He has been showing couture collections in Paris for about a
Always a sharp marketer, Saab air-kissed his guests after
the show in front of a backdrop emblazoned with his name as a
crush of cameras clicked away.
(Reporting By Alexandria Sage, editing by Paul Casciato)