Here comes a woman who welcomes attention. Elie Saab kicked off his fall couture show with this message, sending her slinking down a grand staircase, ever so slowly. We’re in the jazz age. Where else can you pull off a stage show entrance, covered in ostrich feathers, beaded from head to toe — starting with the head cap — and look classy?
The Lebanese designer worked a palette of the era’s Champagne range, with pale gold and dusty pink, sparkling, all of it. The rhinestones were larger than life, and, along with the beadwork, built a shimmery gold and silver blend, accented by soft, sky blue feathers.
In tufts, they added heft to the shoulders of a minidress, the skirt loose, and lengthened behind by a train attached to the waist — another element of the show-opening dress. The feathers also appeared in dusty rose, serving as puffs on the wrists or in strips, running down a long skirt, to add volume — the kind that floats.
Energizing the red carpet is Saab’s forte; this season, he tackled the job with added efficiency, making it jazzy and subtle all at once.
Elegance was ensured by the infusion of Art Deco references, like patterns delineated in silver. Accessories gained ground, with the designer using them to thrust the lineup into a contemporary realm. Large bows, attached to the neck, stretched from shoulder to shoulder, straight across or cocked at an angle. Oblong-shaped rhinestones were used for rings, belts and earrings; smaller stones were linked together to make fringes, adding an extra swish to the chain mail purse. Strands of pearls looped down from cat-eye shaped sunglasses.
In choosing Josephine Baker as an influence, the designer offered an answer to one of the most vexing questions of our era. Yes, unabashed sensuality still has its place, and it doesn’t have to be incompatible with political engagement. Now, time to let loose and enjoy the party.