The Elie Saab show on Wednesday smartly echoed the red carpet maneuver made by it-girl actress Lupita Nyong’o, who wore the brand to the SAG awards on Sunday to rave reviews. It wasn't just the floor-length abstract flower print dress with dramatic black vertical stripes the ingénue wore to the main event that made Nyong'o's dress a winner; it was the fact that she showed up at an after-party in a shorter variation on the same design.
In Saab’s spring/summer 2015 couture show the Lebanese designer used the same approach. He produced a number of beautifully beaded long gowns in a myriad of blooming flora motifs such as tulips, jacarandas and mimosa and then reworked them again in a shorter offshoot with a more youthful take on the same premise. The clever addition of low-heeled sandals to these ensembles helped even further to accentuate their girlish charm.
An addition made by the show’s stylist Melanie Huynh, perhaps? Since she has come on board, the brand clearly has a new spring in its step.
But what was most remarkable about this feminine and romantic collection was the sense of nostalgia wafting through the designs as the models walked through the garden-decorated venue.
In a mood board souvenir booklet left on each seat, the designer himself opened up about his youth in Beirut and the memories of his mother dressed up in gowns covered in flowers. Just the line of text that quoted Saab as saying, “And with every new collection I conceived, the striking image of my mother in this tulip print silk dress reappeared endlessly” explains so much about the designer and the garments he creates.
Saab called this collection “Beirut, Chasing a Dream”. And he captured a bit of the essence of his homeland in all his elegant dresses with their three dimensional blooms, fabric petals fluttering in the wind and delicate stems stitched out of sequins onto tulle. But what the fans of his brand hope for most of all is that he never wakes up from the reverie that is at the heart of this couture house.