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.
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.
“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.
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.