The Elie Saab woman is probably unaccustomed to walking on soil, and in flat explorer boots, no less. So maybe it was apropos that a few models in his spring couture show tripped on the earthen runway.
Stumbles aside, this was an exceptional outing for Saab. His Indian theme added an exotic tinge to his sparkly gowns and cocktail dresses, swags of fabric over-the-shoulder telegraphing the gesture of a sari. It was also unleashed a torrent of new elements, including silky pants, spangled salwar-kameez ensembles, and breezy dusters.
Even if the boots were luxe, long tinsel lapping at their tongues, Saab summoned a transporting mood of turn-of-the-century adventurers, rigging his young models with leather map tubes and binocular cases. They kicked up the dust in the steamy show venue, with its backdrop of potted palms.
The show notes referenced Lilah Wingfield, an Anglo-Irish noblewoman who recorded her travels to Delhi and Udaipur in 1911, when Victorian silhouettes were yielding to the Edwardian period. Saab’s opening looks, with ruffled high necks, tight sleeves and tiers of frothy lace, recall the photo of Winfield in the show program, a small hawk perched on her wrist.
They were lovely, and exemplified Saab’s knack for veiling the body with dense, yet delicate ornamentation. Forgetting short interludes of mother-of-the-bride blues, this show cast a spell with its pale shades of blush, clotted cream and antique silver.
Rising model Lineisy Montero looked ravishing in a simple, cap-sleeved gown in that metallic shade, proving that Saab’s formula of flattering color, form-fitting shapes and delicate spangling are a safe bet on a red carpet, a gleaming parquet — or even a patch of dirt.