Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 1 October 2020

Elie Saab unveils couture collection that pays homage to Beirut: 'A city that triumphs over and over again'

The Lebanese designer's home and office were devastated by the August 4 blast

Elie Saab  released a couture collection inspired by the city of Beirut. Instagram / Elie Saab
Elie Saab  released a couture collection inspired by the city of Beirut. Instagram / Elie Saab

More than a month after his home was razed by the catastrophic explosion in Beirut's port, Elie Saab dedicated his newest collection to the Lebanese capital.

The designer, born in Damour, unveiled a sartorial love letter to the city on Thursday, September 10, as he used an ethereal video to release his latest haute couture collection.

The line, titled Beirut, the Sacred Source, brings together a concoction of otherworldly gowns, fusing dramatic lines with the most delicate of fabrics.

Set in a dream-like forest, models emerge from behind a mirrored door in the label's video, parading a stream of wholly enthralling dresses, crafted in the lightest of silks, tulles and laces.

Romantically fluid and strikingly powerful all at once, the collection was inspired by the spirit of Lebanon's capital, Saab revealed on Instagram.

"Everything in this world seems fantastical and unreal, yet it is all so realisable," his label wrote.

"Elie Saab is painting a path onward, a way for his Beirut to shine forward, an ability to dream that gives breath to hope, to a future full of possibilities."

The collection was also drawn from the "renewing energies" of the Earth's elements, as well as Beirut's "magical spirit".

"[Saab] designs with Beirut, with its vibrant cultural imagary and its rich artistic heritage. In this whimsical new collection, he invokes the sacred source, the throbbing life force that allows Beirut to triumph over and over again," a post on the label's Instagram account said. "He gives breath to a vestiary of beautiful divinities that embody the essences of his most beloved Beirut."

The designer, 56, last month revealed the damage caused to his atelier in the city by the August 4 explosion.

The blast, which has claimed more than 190 lives and left thousands more injured and homeless, ravaged the couturier's offices and his home.

"I saw my son covered in blood; I could not believe it. I said OK, he is wounded, but it was OK, it was just cuts to his head and arms," Saab told Reuters.

"But it was 15 minutes that felt like two days long. It was not just because it is a father and son thing, it was because we all work together like one family under one roof."

Saab, who has dressed the likes of Halle Berry, Beyonce and Angelina Jolie since founding his label in 1982, said his team would soon resume work at the brand's office, but his home would have to be rebuilt.

"This is a huge setback but we have to be like Beirut, every time dusting itself off and returning to the way it was," he said at the time.

His eponymous label is on the provisional schedule for this month's Paris Fashion Week, but it is not yet known in what capacity his show or presentation will take place.

Updated: September 13, 2020 05:21 PM

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