There are two kinds of people in the world—those whose eyes pop at the sight of a floor sweeping, dazzling Elie Saab outfit and others who are secret admirers of his work. The occasions to dress oneself in couture are few and far in between—which is why Elie Saab’s ready-to-wear collection offers the same dream, with a hint of practicality.
The Lebanese couturier who was the first Arab designer to be invited to be a part of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne has made a mark globally with his aesthetically appealing, feminine silhouettes. As the designer comes to Mumbai, via yours truly, here’s some quick trivia about the designer label.
Halle Berry’s iconic Oscars win for Monster’s Ball (2002) would never have been the same without her deep crimson taffeta gown by Elie Saab. The grand train of the gown was juxtaposed with a delicate tulle bodice and strategically placed florals. It was this moment that catapulted the designer to becoming a global phenomenon.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Son Ye-jin, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Deepika Padukone, Jennifer Lopez—his list of admirers is long and truly stretches across the globe.
Like any good couturier worth his salt, the largeness of his personality and philosophy bleeds into his creations. Said Saab in an interview with Vogue Arabia, “One small mistake will ruin the whole name, destroy it all. So, I always work harder. If something is perfect, I don’t stop there, I push harder, and I do it with confidence. Sometimes, I look at a dress that a client is wearing, and she’s happy with it, but I’ll ask her to remove it, or ask to change a small detail they don’t see. This is what makes the difference. The worry among people I work with is not about pleasing the customer, but rather pleasing Elie Saab.”
Saab is proud of his heritage and wears it on his sleeve. Hailing from the city of Beirut, Saab has been witness to civil wars, financial crises and tragic explosions. The resilience of his spirit shines through in his work. “You have to constantly compete and bring something new. Don’t give up. You can never give up. Especially in a city like Beirut,” he told NYT in a recent interview.
Saab is a lover of handcrafted embroideries, rich fabrics, larger than life silhouettes and fantastical themes. Each creation can take a few months—the results naturally show the level of craftsmanship that goes into each and every piece.