Elie Saab tries something new at Paris Fashion Week

Lebanese designer Elie Saab showed off his latest collection at Paris Fashion Week on Saturday. (AFP)
Updated 07 October 2019

Elie Saab tries something new at Paris Fashion Week

DUBAI: A vivid red screen flanked the Elie Saab runway inside the grounds of a Paris institution, the Michelin 3-star restaurant Alleno Paris at the Pavillon Ledoyen.

The Lebanese designer turned the style-dial firmly back to the 1970s at his Paris Fashion Week show on Saturday, with printed dresses and flowing gowns paraded down the runway by a clutch of carefully selected models.




(AFP)

The color palette was retro-inspired, with darker chartreuses, burnt reds and baby pinks spotted throughout the show and as for the main theme, the fashion house’s Instagram account described the collection as being comprised of “expedition-chic pieces that balance harmoniously between adventure and luxury.”

Some fashion insiders were less comfortable with the inspiration behind Saab’s latest season, however, with Vogue magazine’s Luke Leitch calling out the “savanna” theme described in the Lebanese fashion house’s pre-show press release.

“This afternoon Elie Saab put out a typically va-va-voom collection that his press release described as ‘a reflection on the diversity than animates the great savannas of Africa,’” Leitch wrote.




(AFP)

“As a white English male, I’ve got so much privilege I have to check in excess at the gate when approaching such issues as a Lebanese designer dedicating a collection to a very broad-brush interpretation of the African continent. Is ‘expedition-chic’ or ‘safari-chic’ featuring ‘African bead necklaces and bracelets’ okay today? The answer depends on where you come from,” he added.

Small circles were also a key theme, The Associated Press noted. The circles, at times, appeared controlled, such as the tiny perforated eyelets on a sporty white mini dress with long tassels. Later, the theme had a boho vibe: A petite sunflower print adorned a floor-length black gown worn by a model styled with her hair in an Afro.




(AFP)

A silk gown in rich electric blue had a looser-than-normal silhouette and a waist that was tight without being cinched. Thick banding led the eye down to a sumptuous full skirt that gently grazed the floor.

The collection indicated that Saab, who found fame with his cinched-waist looks, seems to be moving out of his comfort zone — and it’s paying dividends.


‘It Must Be Heaven’: Elia Suleiman’s sardonic take on the world

Suleiman, who plays the lead role as himself, explores identity, nationality and belonging. (Supplied)
Updated 23 October 2019

‘It Must Be Heaven’: Elia Suleiman’s sardonic take on the world

MUMBAI: Elia Suleiman’s “It Must Be Heaven,” which was screened at the Mumbai Film Festival, is pure cinema. Like his earlier works, here too the Palestinian director uses wit, sarcasm and minimalism, this time to present a series of vignettes that are funny but also a powerful lambast of the world we live in. Suleiman, who plays the lead role as himself, explores identity, nationality and belonging.

He says people worldwide now live in fear amid global geopolitical tensions. Today, checkpoints are just about everywhere: In airports, shopping malls, cinemas, highways — the list is endless.

“It Must Be Heaven” was screened at the Mumbai Film Festival. (Supplied) 

Suleiman’s earlier features, such as “Chronicle of a Disappearance” and “Divine Intervention,” showed us everyday life in the occupied Palestinian territories. This time, it is Paris and New York. 

The first scene is hilarious, with a bishop trying to enter a church with his followers. The gatekeeper on the other side of the heavy wooden door is probably too intoxicated and refuses to let the priest in, leading to a comical situation. Suleiman’s life in Nazareth is filled with such incidents — snippets that have been strung together to tell us of tension in society. Neighbors turn out to be selfish, and only generous when they know they are being watched. 

The Palestinian director uses wit, sarcasm and minimalism, to present a series of vignettes that are funny but also a powerful lambast of the world we live in. (Supplied)

In Paris, the cafes along the grand boulevards, and the young women who pass by, are typical of France’s capital. But a cut to Bastille Day, with tanks rolling by in a show of strength, jolts us back to harsh reality. In New York, Suleiman’s cab driver is excited at driving a Palestinian. 

The film has an interesting way of storytelling. The scenes begin as observational shots, but the camera quickly changes positions to show Suleiman watching from the other side of the room or a street. The camera then returns to where it first stood, and this back-and-forth movement is delightfully engaging.

The framing is so perfect, and the colors so bright and beautiful, that each scene looks magical. And as the director looks on at all this with his usual deadpan expression, a sardonic twitch at the corner of his mouth, we know all this is but illusion. There is bitter truth ahead!