The Devoted: Elie Saab

By Alissa Ralph
published on September 24th 2015

In 1970s Lebanon, a little boy dreamed. He dreamed of beautiful women in gowns fit for royalty, walking the Beirut streets with their dress skirts gathered in their hands. He dreamed of his sisters laughing and twirling like spinning tops in dresses made of the finest laces, speckled in starry crystals. Since adolescence, young Elie Saab knew he wanted to carve out his own niche in the fashion world — and he would teach himself the craft.

From humble beginnings using newspaper to cut dress patterns, Elie Saab is now one of the most well known haute couture designers in our lifetime. Bringing both Eastern and Western influences to the sewing room, Saab, now 51, has built a satin-enveloped empire. Having lived in such places as Beirut, Paris, and Switzerland, Saab has established his talent globally, exhibiting his collections in all fashion capitals.

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Saab primarily uses fluid-like fabrics that glide over his women to create dynamic, feminine silhouettes. His latest F/W15 collection shown in Paris displayed a moody high-court of elemental princesses, bejewelled head-to-foot in golden sequins and jewellery. Sticking to neutral, natural tones, the clothing is worn by the woman as though it were her second skin, risen to the surface. The glamour of sheer, glittery textiles and embroidery have become Saab's trademark.

While all women share the desire to look like princesses, Saab's ready-to-wear and couture collections span from $1500, all the way to his emerald and diamond encrusted gown made for Queen Rania of Jordan which sold for an unbelievable 2.4 million. Perhaps we must do as Saab did as a child and simply dream of the fantasy realm in which his garments dwell and come to life.