Colors were scarce in Elie Saab’s fall lineup, which was dominated by black. This allowed for a sharp focus on silhouettes, an exploration that turned up varied and sophisticated results through more than 80 looks. Lace and tulle added texture to dresses and blouses, used for long, draped sleeves or in rows of gathering, accentuated with tufts for extra flounce.
The collection aimed to dress a woman from day into the evening; the label seeks a timeless approach — a direction it deepened here, noted the designer.
“We take time to study each piece,” said Saab, speaking from Beirut through Zoom.
Adjusting to shifting tastes, the designer said he observes people around him to see how they are living today.
“Each detail has its place — it’s very important not to overdo things, you have to consider every detail on a dress so it is balanced,” he explained.
In order to dream up the red-carpet sensations he’s famous for, he offers extravagance, yes, but in the right proportions.
This was the strong point of the collection, reflecting the thoughtful approach Saab described. Black velvet dresses were jazzed up with a thin line of rhinestones, deep necklines often came with long sleeves while revealed shoulders were accompanied by a flash of leg — from a long skirt.
Patterns were introduced gradually, starting with embroidered white polka dots and stark black and white Art Deco patterns — smart, statement pieces. Stunners came near the end, including an all-leather dress with a latticed bodice and long, plisse skirt and blown-up floral prints, embroidered with sequins.
Powdered pink — a house signature — was one of the rare colors on offer, worked into romantic dresses with puffs of ostrich feathers.
“It gives lightness, it’s immortal, I don’t think there’s a woman who doesn’t appreciate a nuanced pink,” said Saab. The prevalence of black reflected realistic expectations of a final purchase — many enter the store clamoring for color, only to leave with a black dress.
The film showed models parading along pools of water in a stark, brutalist setting, capes and skirts trailing behind, soft touches in a maze of imposing columns. Saab explained it was the garden of the building he lives in — he was eager to highlight the finer sides of Beirut, which has suffered a series of disasters, including last summer’s explosion.
“It’s a very difficult time for us,” he agreed, when asked, and stressed his forward-looking approach. “We have hope.”