It was his first couture collection since the pandemic, and the second stop on the Grand Tour initiated with his resort 2022 collection, where Zuhair Murad’s jet-set travelers took in Swinging London.
Here, the Venice Carnival was in full swing. “I’ve visited Venice a lot in the past few years, and I’ve fallen in love with the city,” said the designer backstage before his show.
On theme, Murad put on a display of unbridled pageantry, complete with face masks that were decidedly more lightweight than the gowns themselves. Front-row guests were reminded to replace their own masks once they had finished posing for photos in the majestic rose-filled courtyard of the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in the Latin Quarter that was the setting for the show.
On the runway, Murad’s dresses and bodysuits first swung with layer upon layer of looped and beaded ornaments inspired by opulent chandeliers. Flowing sleeves and long trains were inspired by the opulence of the city’s balls, as was the choice of fabrics, with flounces of organza, taffeta and velvet in abundance. In an explosion of colors, there were several crystal-covered looks that twinkled like a firework display over the Grand Canal at night.
Murano glass provided the color palette and marbled motifs of further designs, embroidered or, on one dress, painted on by hand. Particularly striking was a strapless gown in green and black swirls of fabric, the lightly scalloped edge of its bodice and undulating lines providing a graphic, more contemporary take on Murad’s signature aesthetic.
The designer was happy to be back in full-on creative mode, he confided. “It’s been tough, I’m used to doing eight collections per year, and all of a sudden everything stopped,” said Murad, who has spent the past 18 months between Paris, Beirut and Italy. “I like working under stress, when there’s a deadline, it makes me work harder.”