Embellished red-carpet princess dresses are Elie Saab’s specialty, and here the Lebanese couturier stepped it up a notch in a collection fit for queens. On a path strewn with gold sequins, with embroidered banners hung at the end of the runway, Saab sent out a royal procession of medieval-inspired gowns in wintry jewel tones like ruby and forest green, and touches of fur.
The forms meandered between more structured gowns with sculptural peplums to free-flowing styles with nipped waists, glittering gold embroideries and trumpet sleeves that were more classical — read literal — in allure. Certain gowns sported removable skirts attached by belts and dramatic velvet capes fixed with velvet bow ties. The Lady of Shalott-style jeweled headbands finished off the look.
The interest was in the surface play, with nature motifs climbing across dresses, or smatterings of pearls, and ribbon accents and Celtic embroideries adding graphic impact to bodices. The plays on matte and sheer fabrics also worked well, especially on the gowns with alternating pleats in lace and velvet on the skirt.
Look close and golden snowflake embroideries peppered the skirt of one gown with gleaming cock feathers embellishing the sleeves, lending a fairy-tale quality to the cinematic collection that climaxed with a bride in an embroidered cape so expansive it required two damsels to carry it. “It’s enough to make you want to renew your vows, it was magical,” cooed actress Roxane Mesquida who’d been eyeing up the gowns from the front row. “It was very ‘Braveheart.’”
More From Paris Haute Couture Week Fall 2017:
Chanel Couture Fall 2017: Karl Lagerfeld focused on an essential tenet shared by the Eiffel Tower and couture itself: perfection of structure.
Backstage at Christian Dior Couture Fall 2017: Peter Philips and Guido Palau fashioned the beauty look of the show.
Backstage at Giambattista Valli Couture Fall 2017: Val Garland and James Pecis created the beauty look of the show.
Atelier Versace Couture Fall 2017: The collection blended Baroque references and rock ‘n’ roll — with a soupçon of 3-D printing.
Iris Van Herpen Couture Fall 2017: For her 10th anniversary show, the designer sent out aquatic-themed creations to a performance by underwater group Between Music.
Paris Couture Gains Extra Day as Confidence Returns: France’s Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture has welcomed five brands as guest members on this season’s schedule.
Couture Week Tells Its Stories on Instagram: The French fashion federation reiterates its social initiatives with a cadre of 11 influential guest posters capturing the mood of a week of couture shenanigans.