Spring 2014 Haute Couture: Elie Saab Chanels Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s Colorful Palette


Lebanese couturier Elie Saab found inspiration in the work of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, a 19th century Victorian painter well-known for his portraiture of elegantly dressed female figures, often captured in Gallo-Roman-style settings. According to the designer, Alma-Tadema’s works informed his Spring-Summer 2014 haute couture collection’s color palette of floral tones, such as lilac, blue hydrangea and budding pink. Titled “The Promise of Spring,” the collection referenced the floral theme throughout via floral appliqués and crystal embroideries on delicate organza on the majority of the gowns.This season, waists were often defined by empire lines, a departure from the last few seasons’ belted looks.

There were several “simpler” offerings, where the designer didn’t rely on embellishment, but instead showcased gently pleated Grecian constructions that are sure to make an entry on the red carpet soon. Particularly successful was a series of bustier dress with light chiffon trains that lightly moved with the body – regally elegant. Another hit was a series of gowns with what resembled impressionistic painted flowers further enhanced by crystal embroideries and appliques.

The use of panniers to accentuate the hips on several gowns was not as succesful, though, and brought to mind “meringue” wedding dresses.

Overall, it was a beautiful collection that seemed to indicate the designer is ready to move in a new direction, even if he remains partial to his staple frothy embroideries.