Elie Saab Looks to India for Spring 2016 Couture

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When presented so beautifully and in such a delicate, fantasy palette, one can't help but resonate deeply both with the surface appearance of the Elie Saab collection and its deeper meaning.

A woman traveling by herself in today’s time raises no eyebrows, but in 1911, there couldn’t be a sight more peculiar. When Anglo-Irish beauty, Lilah Wingfield, was invited to the Delhi Dubar at the age of 23, she forged her own way to the Indian subcontinent where she recorded her journey via photograph on her black-and-white Kodak camera. Her singular journey to the Imperial Hotel in Delhi and Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur lives on through her images, as does her inspiring story.

For Spring 2016 Couture, Elie Saab name-checked Wingfield as inspiration for his glittering, soignée collection of modernized Edwardian gowns, updated shalwar-kameez, and glittering, luxe separates, acknowledging three things: the influence of India’s magical textiles on the couture industry, the strength of women who defy the status quo in order to create their own path in life, and the changing nature of fashion marked by the transformation of Victoriana to Edwardianism at the turn of the 19th century. When presented so beautifully and in such a delicate, fantasy palette, one can’t help but resonate deeply both with the surface appearance of the collection and its deeper meaning.

Elie Saab Spring 2016 Couture
Photo: Courtesy of Imaxtree

Against an immense jungle backdrop and across a floor strewn with soil emerged one of Saab’s best collections to date. The first look was so gorgeous that it’s the kind of dress most designers close with, and it signaled what was to be a mesmerizing presentation. A long columnar silhouette signified Saab’s Edwardian influence, but it was the fairytale fabric that performed visual miracles, gliding down the runway with webbed threading so intricate that it defied explanation.

Although Saab’s fabrics were fragile and ephemeral, the models wearing them were as regal as queens, which underscored the inner strength of Saab’s muse this season.

The finery continued as the most preternaturally beautiful materials on earth were turned into languid mini dresses, crystal embroidered basque jackets, fringe-trimmed gowns, and sheer tunics shot through with metallic brocades, beading, and hand-stitched textures. Although Saab’s fabrics were fragile and ephemeral, the models wearing them were as regal as queens, which underscored the inner strength of Saab’s muse this season. While his woman is an intrepid explorer of new continents, she is also refined. Who among us would not want to be her?

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