Elie Saab has played with regal references for several seasons, and this year he looked to the royal house of Thailand for new shapes and his signature heavy embellishment interpreted in new, ever more intricate ways.
Sash-front coverings and embroidery that appeared as gold bands on the upper arm, as in traditional Thai jewelry, were new ways of adorning his models, and headdresses in fantastical shapes of goddesses reached skyward. Shoulders, too, were doing their utmost to reach the heavens, moving outward in feather-like layers as if ready to take flight.
The collection, titled Golden Dawn, carried through tones of gold-flecked oyster, oat and sand, as well as early-morning shades of slate blue and rose. Saab moved in new ways with the one-shouldered shape of the traditional Chut Thai, designated the national dress by Queen Sirikit in 1964, draping as tops, while dual wing-like capes trailed from the shoulders to the floor.
The most unusual looks were male, with heavily embroidered suits and coats with Mandarin collars and a billowing cape that emerged from the back of a blazer.
It was the second time the designer has sent men down the runway. The move was “supposed to be a one off,” said chief executive officer Elie Saab Jr., but the demand has been so strong that Saab has decided to continue with new creations.
The house has nearly 40 male clients now, Saab said, particularly from Asia and with a handful in its London atelier. The ateliers have taken steps to expand the skills of its couturiers in tailoring and other techniques to cater to these new clients.
Saab will continue to expand the offering, as he looks to express his creativity in new ways.