Elie Saab Haute Couture
Elie Saab is one of the most consistent couturiers around, with his shows constantly thrilling fashionistas with his signature elegant fare! From his first season, Mr. Saab has established himself as one of the best couturiers in modern times and when it comes to glamour, no one can top Elie Saab’s glittering confections. This season, the designer dedicated the collection to his past, basing it in his childhood in 1960s Beirut.
Mr. Saab based his looks around the women he saw growing up during the city’s heyday, “the Golden Age,” as he called it. “…Back then, Beirut seemed to be constantly adorned for a party that would never end.” This dash of nostalgia injected his Spring 2015 collection with a certain freshness that previous showings may have lacked. He titled the collection “Beirut, Chasing a Dream,” channeling a bit of the essence of his homeland into all of his elegant looks.
Billowing khaftan- inspired looks added variety to Mr. Saab’s classic fit -and- flare silhouettes and goddess gowns, while bejewelled jumpsuits provided a refreshing break from a stream of dresses. On the whole this was a very relaxed collection and Mr. Saab further pushed the laid- back spirit by including pockets in nearly all the looks (gowns included!) and pairing many of his creations with minimalist accessories like unadorned leather belts and low- heeled sandals.
Mr. Saab rarely uses prints but this season, his mother’s tulip-printed silk dress provided a template for new motifs and adornments. Graphic watercolour florals provided a bold new dimension to his looks- especially when printed on sheer fabrics and paired with large 3- dimensional appliqués. There were also crystal- encrusted overlays in lace and net, while ostrich feathers were used to fabulous effect on several looks.
I’m very impressed with the variety seen in Mr. Saab’s designs and it shows that he’s really trying to make the brand relatable to women of every age and style preference. I love how youthful or playful his collections are becoming in terms of colours and accessorizing! There are several completely styled looks that I would wear straight off the runway!
This is perhaps one of the most remarkable Couture collections that Elie Saab has produced to date. It’s as feminine and gorgeous as his previous work, but this season’s heavy dose of nostalgia imbued Spring 2015’s offering with a glamorous vintage vibe! Apart from being a lovely tale of the designer’s childhood, it’s a gorgeous ode to a lost period in history, a sense that elevated the collection above and beyond Mr. Saab’s already sky-high standards.
It’s an almost perfectly executed collection and I’m certain that couture lovers worldwide will be fighting over every look seen on the runway. As usual Elie Saab’s Spring 2015 Couture show has left me spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing gorgeous clothes.
Ralph & Russo Haute Couture
This season, British brand Ralph & Russo was once again included among the precious few international brands invited to present during Paris Couture Week- their runway show being the event that officially closed the Spring 2015 season. Once again, the label proved itself to be more than worthy of the honour by releasing an extraordinary collection that was both breathtakingly beautiful and technically astute.
For Spring 2015 designers, Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo focused on the allure of flowers, sprinkling their structural fifties- inspired garments with liberal amounts of crystals, decorative embroidery and articulated floral appliqués. This British couture house has little to prove in terms of finesse and high craft, but the designers surpassed their already high standards and really pushed boundaries in their aesthetic in terms of complexity and technical detailing.
In that respect, the show was extremely progressive with shapes and adornments becoming more opulent with each passing look. One coat dress was extravagantly embroidered with hundreds of flowers connected in intricate patterns, another was detailed with bands of micro ruffles to create cascading layers trimmed with hundreds of tiny ruffles- the bridal gown was so heavily encrusted that the bride required the assistance of four burly attendants to help her turn at the end of the catwalk. 3D flower buds competed with metallic embroidery, pearls and geometric crystals on some gowns, others sported layers of sumptuously embellished lace or net, while on some degradés of pastel organzas were sculpted into floral shapes! True art.
The collection definitely effused the type of romance associated with Hollywood’s glamorous ‘Golden Age’, but amongst the gorgeous array of tea frocks, cocktail dresses and evening gowns, the designers managed to inject a sense of modernity into their lineup with the addition of magnificent architectural pieces.
I have one criticism. For all it’s beautiful inventiveness, the house’s Spring 2015 offering never fully coalesced into a true collection as there was no real cohesion between the sequenced sets of designs. After a while, the constant stream of overworked silhouettes became somewhat tedious. The collection looked more like a compilation of classic couture shapes rather than an offering for a new season- certainly the runway lineup would have benefited greatly from a much tighter edit that would have allowed the exceptional pieces to really stand out.
The Ralph & Russo Spring 2015 collection was undeniably one of the most gorgeous offerings seen on the runway this season, but beyond that, it lacked a certain… something. Overall though, I enjoyed reviewing the show because it was so beautiful. Ralph & Russo is one of the best new couture houses currently operating, but if they want to really become noticed as a major luxury house, the designers still have a little work to do. I have high hopes for them!