#SuzyCouture: Elie Saab – From Beirut to Barcelona

Elie Saab brought a new angle, literally, to his vision of womanhood. Instead of the more familiar tracery of a female body – all lacy fabrics of pure femininity –the new Autumn/Winter 2018 couture collection was inspired by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí.

Saab said he was exploring “the relationship between light, natural forms, and structures” that can be found in Gaudi’s apartment building, La Pedrera (the Casa Milà).

The fashion story was not really about how architecture can inspire design and relate to the shape of a woman’s body, however.

The subtle change in direction of this collection was more about how Saab’s ideas could be translated into cloth.

At the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, where Saab had presented his very first Paris couture show, the designer helped his audience reference the looks by offering paper pads of inspiration: a picture of a Gaudí brick staircase lit by golden sunshine; or a similar shape created by bands of gilded stitching.

Saab named the show “Of Forms and Light”, adding another description – “colour impressions”. Amethyst and turquoise, as if from a luminous jewel, added a rich vision.

The overall effect was not quite so lofty. Splits long (or short) revealed glimpses of flesh as the models walked the runway. The shapes, if not the fabrics, seemed familiar.

But as every Saab show proves, he has a genuinely powerful following, as seen in the ranks of private clients seated in the hall. Full marks to the designer for pushing himself forward artistically, while giving the faithful what they crave.