Elie Saab channels inner sultan at Paris fashion week

Wed Jul 4, 2012 1:11pm EDT
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By Alexandria Sage

PARIS (Reuters) - Byzantine opulence and splendour worthy of a sultan's harem greeted guests at Elie Saab's fashion show on Wednesday, as the Lebanese designer beloved of the Hollywood set presented a fantasy collection spun from embroidered tulle and lace.

Saab, who is known for his red carpet creations, said he was inspired by Constantinople for his autumn/winter 2012-2013 Haute Couture collection, and indeed the gold, shimmer and sparkle overflowed in the pillared Paris reception hall on the Rue Cambon.

"As if lifted from a palace along the banks of the Bosporus, Ottoman motifs subtly infuse the collection with imperial splendour," read the collection notes, in a description designed to encourage the well-heeled to open their wallets.

Opening the show was a black tulle caftan dripping with lace, sequin and pearl embroidery guaranteed to ensure a dramatic entrance on either side of the Bosporus.

Another black stunner featured an embroidered bodice and hips and flowing sleeves that draped behind the gown like a train, imparting a regal aspect to the belted look.

With high necklines and elaborate embroidered bodices, many gowns recalled the finery of an Edwardian era predisposed to hedonism and a fantasy-inspired vision of the Orient.

Despite a debut in black, Saab opted for warmer hues of champagne, taupe, rose, sky blue and jade for most of the collection, with a special emphasis on shimmering gold.

"I didn't like to use the colors of winter," explained Saab after the show.   Continued...