Spring 2015 Haute Couture: Elie Saab and the Gardens of Beirut


Elie Saab is now well-established as a go-to-designer for a glittering elegant entrance at red carpet events. His princess-like dresses are renowned for their beautiful sequin and pearl embroideries, and for his Spring Summer Haute Couture Collection 2015, the Lebanese designer offered plenty of those. But he also added flirty feathers and unusual tulip prints to the mix that kept his collection fresh. The overall theme was his native Beirut and recollections of his childhood when he “pranced around medlar and laurel trees, playing beneath the purple billows of the jacarandas.”

“The oak and olive trees sprawled around this runway are vivid resurgences of the gardens of my past. These memories still inspire my colors and my scents,” the designer explained in a booklet for the runway show replete with personal photos from the era.

“When I sit back and reflect on my journey, I’m always transported to the city where I was born, somewhere between the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains,” he wrote, adding, “back then, Beirut seemed to be constantly adorned for a party that would never end. I was instantly enthralled by beauty and wanted to ensure it remained untainted.”

“To this day, I’m still enchanted by a clear vision: my mother in an evening gown. Curved at the waist. Flared like a corolla. Tulips printed on silk. A vision that fuelled my flare as a designer. And with every new collection I conceived, the striking image of my mother in this tulip print silk dress reappeared endlessly.” he added.

This floral and vegetal theme could be found in most of his short and long offerings, with large watercolor-like tulip prints on silk and embroidery appliques on barely there organza. Pink ostrich feathers could be found covering the skirt of a pretty cocktail dress, while blue feathers were used to embellish the sleeves of a long tulle robe coat. Many gowns had built in pockets for a nonchalant attitude, while the waistline was high and accentuated by a tone-on-tone slim belt.