Elie Saab was in an elegiac mood this season, paying homage to his native Beirut with a shimmering collection of gowns inspired by the women he saw growing up during the city’s Sixties heyday, before a 15-year civil war reduced its casinos and beach clubs to a pile of rubble.

Trees, bushes and other greenery dotted the runway, heralding a bucolic theme that the Lebanese designer traced back to one of his earliest memories: his mother in a black silk dress printed with tulips.

“With every new collection I conceived, the striking image of my mother in this tulip-print silk dress reappeared endlessly,” he said in his show notes, which took the form of a lushly illustrated booklet that read like an old travel brochure.

Saab’s spring lineup featured decorative details, including oversize blooms and abstract tree-bark effects on sheer fabrics in powdery shades of ivory, pink, beige and green. Ostrich feathers were used to fabulous effect as an allover trim on a nude dress with sequined floral embroideries and a cape back. In a more delicate vein, individual ostrich feathers nestled among 3-D chiffon tulip petals on a full-skirted pink guipure dress with long sleeves.

Saab capped off the delicate display with a series of all-black looks, including an ankle-length dress with short sleeves, its clean shape counterbalanced by an allover embroidered tulip motif. It brought to mind a black-and-white photo in the inspiration book that shows the designer’s parents gazing into the distance, his mother wearing the dress that triggered his vocation.

By  on January 28, 2015

Elie Saab was in an elegiac mood this season, paying homage to his native Beirut with a shimmering collection of gowns inspired by the women he saw growing up during the city’s Sixties heyday, before a 15-year civil war reduced its casinos and beach clubs to a pile of rubble.

Trees, bushes and other greenery dotted the runway, heralding a bucolic theme that the Lebanese designer traced back to one of his earliest memories: his mother in a black silk dress printed with tulips.

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