Cobalt lighting warmed the atmosphere at Zuhair Murad, throwing pastels in sharp contrast to the blue tint that colored everything else. Guests floated in this otherworldly ambience until the twinkling backdrop of the runway supernova-ed into a cape beset with twinkling crystals. White crystals twinkled with red ones. Far from the old "blood on bandages" adage against diamond-ruby pairings, these gradually eased into the multifaceted wonders of wild space. From then on, we had lift off.
As a whole, it was very much a collection treading the fine line between burnishing the brand's image and offering starting points for its clients' orders of the season. To wit, high-waisted briefs under sheer star embroideries were certainly a sexy skyclad look, but a less daring client could always order a beautiful lining to complement this proposal. Elsewhere, this weightless impression continued as every step forward revealed the sheer pleats hidden behind burgundy lamé. This collection was rife with awareness of little tricks that delight the wearer.
French actress Frédérique Bel was eager to show a photograph of herself at the Cannes Film Festival, only to effuse over the essential quality that the Murad client seeks. "I was so astounded at the compliments I received for this look” – a sheer green embroidered number that made her look like a siren wearing little but seafoam and high waist briefs – “which embody Mr Murad's work: a beautiful frame for the body, the utter extravagance that only sobre elegance brings." That was the very same thing that struck the most in the opulent wedding dress: not its details, or the sheer luxury that it represented in terms of craftsmanship and femininity. It was the exquisite creamy rose overtones that only the highest quality fabrics can bring.
Collections such as these throw in stark relief the paltry efforts of houses reaching towards this highest grade, without paying due attention to the all-encompassing approach required. Despite its astral theme, and its perhaps sometimes overly literal interpretation, this collection highlighted what couture means to its clientele. Fashionable considerations, or kowtowing to trends is relevant here. The only perennially fresh idea that Zuhair Murad brings is creating handsome clothes that make women look and feel their most confident. A house like his inhabits a galaxy of its own, revolving around the increasingly remote celestial vanishing point of ultimate refinement in all aspects of life. In fact, satellites, like fashion commentators, could break orbit without affecting planet Zuhair. But consider this: from where he stands, all women are stars.