The descriptor “red-carpet designer” clings to Elie Saab like scandal to Charlie Sheen. And so the Beirut-based couturier got right down to business with his spring show, his first look announcing the collection’s laser focus on gossamer fabrics and floral embroideries that glistened with sequins and crystals, like dew on a hedge. As that ditty about little boxes on the hillside goes — “there’s a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one” — so went this lengthy show, whose color story was more wedding or garden party than Oscar night.
All the blossoms and sugary tones gave this collection a young, even girly spirit. Short, vaguely Fifties cocktail dresses with flaring skirts were a newer shape for Saab, and surely will appeal to the junior Hollywood set. Some had rosette embroideries that hugged the shoulders.
But gowns are Saab’s sweet spot, and in addition to sinuous, barely-there hourglass styles, were sharper, X-shaped silhouettes, the waist pinched with skinny leather belts. In a respite from flowers, some dresses displayed more graphic embroidery motifs that resembled fireworks. While cutout backs and veiled legs added a frisson of sex appeal to some looks, this was a client-focused parade of styles flattering to figures and complexions.