New York City may be a densely populated, concrete, glass, and stone monument to man-made architecture, but it is also a city that cherishes the natural beauty of the land upon which it was built. Take a stroll through Chelsea and you’ll find the High Line, which flourishes with flora and fauna through the spring and summer. Additionally, Central Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Garden District, and the waterfront in Brooklyn Heights are all carefully curated and preserved oases that offer respite from the city’s bustling metropolitan environment.
For Fall 2016 Couture, Elie Saab lovingly pays homage to both the manufactured and the natural aspects of New York City with an avant-garde architectural collection delightfully decorated with birds. However, New York City’s dull gray pigeons have nothing on Saab’s versions, which are exquisitely appointed with crystal embroidery and clusters of tiny, delicate feathers. The experimental new direction of his Fall 2016 Couture presentation is no less lovely than the traditional red-carpet fare Saab has built his name upon. In fact, as his most fashion-forward couture collection to date, this is Saab at his most accomplished (and that’s saying something).
These are not simply “fairytale” gowns; they are the main characters in a full-fledged fantasy universe.
Saab’s maximal, uber-glamorous show launches with a velvet plunge-front dress decked out with peplum and a thigh-high slit as splays of golden wings and branches encrust the neck, hip, and hands of the model. Next, 54 jaw-dropping looks follow in quick succession, each electrified with grommets, jutting 3D accouterments, crystal embroidery, appliqués, sequin beading, and geometric cutouts. These astonishing elements serve to heighten the drama of gowns that are already sultry – deep “V” necklines and thigh-baring slits see to that.
These are not simply “fairytale” gowns; they are the main characters in a full-fledged fantasy universe, crafted by Saab and the skilled artisans of his atelier. At times, his fashionable flock is accompanied by adorable little girls dressed in matching “mother/daughter” looks, fit for the couture clientele in search of high-end garb for their miniature offspring. In Saab’s rarefied world, both the Queen and the Princess find sartorial splendor.