“Royally opulent silhouettes appear from between the columns of the Palais Brongniart,” Elie Saab‘s program announced. But that’s only half right. It wasn’t the silhouettes that were opulent; by couture standards the construction of the gowns was quite simple. Corseted bodices were far outnumbered by softer, draped styles, and the designer opened with what was essentially a floor-length T-shirt dress, albeit in tulle embellished all over with crystals.
Saab prefers to lavish his attentions and significant resources not on his shapes but on his embroideries and beadwork. This season, these were inspired by jewels in a crown: ruby, emerald, and sapphire. He is a firm believer in monochrome, red sequins on red silk, blue paillettes on blue lace, etc. The effect on the runway can be monotonous, even if it’s a recipe for success—pretty and safe—on the red carpet. That’s why the numbers that appeared at the end of the show—dresses covered neckline to hem in multicolor beads—made such an impact. We’d like to see Saab push this idea further. And why not play around with print a bit?
Of course, nothing made as big an impact as Saab’s bride, who wore a gown fashioned from layer upon layer of tulle sumptuously embroidered with quartz, crystal, and glitter, and a veil to match. The dress was a good few inches too long for the model; a bride would never make it down the aisle, not even with the three bridesmaids this one had to carry her train. But the princess who orders it for her own wedding will have Saab’s atelier at her disposal to make the necessary adjustments.