by LUKE LEITCH
The soundtrack at the start of this Elie Saab show was striking. First, “Come As You Are” by Nirvana—a cello cover. Then, the full uncovered glory of “Creep” by Radiohead—a song that nicely summates the mood as Paris Fashion Week approaches its end. What was up? Grunge Elie?
Thankfully for the massed retinue of clients and Saab aficionados—the most utterly un-grunge crowd you can possibly imagine—this was most definitely not the case. Yes, it was a dark collection shown in a dark room, but Saab’s lace, fringing, fur, guipure, ruffles, and mousselines swirled in a carefully assembled cloud of wholesome glamor through the secondary cloud of dry ice on his runway. Saab added his own take on the monogramania sparked by Gucci and Fendi by building his triple-split-S logo into a monogram of his own on dresses and pussy-bow blouses. This was the chief decorative counterpoint to a heavily used black-background floral that ran through a collection entitled Bouquets d’Hiver.
Asides included a black leather jacket, a silk skirt decorated with dyed fur flowers, a big-shouldered knit, two gold mesh dresses, a black velvet dress, and a black sequined tuxedo jacket garlanded with crystal bows and flourishes. There were many lace- and fringing-strafed evening gowns in black with marabou shivers at the shoulder, arm, and wrist. Suddenly, Saab’s use of “Creep”—whose lyrics include, “You float like a feather through a beautiful world”—didn’t seem so surprising.