Andalusia was the idea behind Elie Saab’s fall lineup, giving reason for the mounds of lace, fringes, tassels, sequined embroidery work, upright ruffles, boleros, capes, emphatic belts, hefty shoulders and all those bows tucked under chins. The designer churned out his creations in impressive quantity. There were long black feathers, too, jutting out from sheer, black gowns, and fanning out from the belly toward the shoulder, and crystals the size of a thumb.
The 61 looks were mostly busy, making simpler pieces stand out — a full-length black velvet dress with a side slit and kimono sleeves, and just three patches of embroidery. A black tulle number with a huge black bow on the neck became interesting with an ivory, knit cape thrown over the top, and finished off with scrunched black boots and gloves. A nod to the bourgeois trend came in the form of a gray, tweed coat and trench ensemble or the requisite shorts suit — paired with high boots in the same material. Thankfully, the designer did not succumb to this season’s fringe deluge, keeping them limited.
Limits are not what the house is about — it serves the fancier, red-carpet, one-percent kind of crowds — so the stark, Palais de Tokyo setting felt unexpected, serving as a reminder that even a bubble of excess will not be untouched by our unsettled climate. The front row smelled of hand sanitizer, and one guest laughed that his wife had splashed out and bought some with gold flecks. The Elie Saab woman is not ready to compromise, as suggested in the show notes. “Like Andalusia, she is what she is.”