Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 July 2019

Paris Haute Couture: Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad & Valentino - in pictures

As couture week draws to a close, has it saved the best until last?

As another season of couture comes to an end, the last day brought with it a triumphant display of romance, dreams and hopes. Dramatic and inescapably linked to the notion of womanhood, the shows from designers Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad and especially Valentino were little short of masterful.

Elie Saab

No one understands the power of an attention grabbing dress quite like Elie Saab.

Since opening his first bridal atelier in 1982, Saab has created gowns for women who are strong, confident and utterly comfortable in their own skins. For this collection, Saab looked further afield, to the Asian markets, referenced here as kimono-style wraps, imperial dragon embroidery and echoes of mighty Samurai warriors. While almost every look was cinched with a golden belt, in true Saab style, the acres of fabric – cut to perfection around the female form – hid as much as it revealed.

Zuhair Murad

Murad's collections have always seemed to exist in a dreamscape, lingering somewhere between myth and fairy tale. Here, gowns shimmered past, heavy with the exquisite beading the house so excels at (the bride in particular was spectacular), but in between a different, more strident, women appeared. Draped in billowing silks, she strode (whereas the Murad woman normally glides), ablaze in colour and pattern. In what feels like a new, bolder chapter for the house, that having made ethereal its own, is looking to a new direction.

Valentino

Valentino's designer Pierpaolo Piccioli is the Pied Piper of fashion, with the power to move and shape what clothes stand for, and after whom we all willingly follow. For couture, he raised the bar a little higher once more, starting from a question, “What if Cecil Beaton’s famous photograph of Charles James dresses could be with black women?"

This simple premise resulted in a parade of gowns so bold, so colourful, so relentlessly joyful, it became somehow life affirming. With world leaders increasingly using skin colour to divide and conquer, the inclusive cast of this show (including, we were delighted to note, Luxury Magazine's September 2018 cover star, Niko) could teach us all a thing or two. A perfect balance of drama, romance, and humanity, all seemingly cut from the cloth of purest love, it had the audience on its feet before the show was even over.

Updated: July 4, 2019 04:23 PM

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