PFW Day Five: Elie Saab and Nina Ricci for Fall/Winter 2017

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On day five of Paris Fashion Week, Elie Saab pared back on his staging, but amped up the drama on his runway. Having relocated from an immense space at the Tuileries which often required a long, muddy walk to and from the carline to a more intimate space at the Grand Palais, Saab’s audience might have been smaller, but the new location made the clothes the central focus. For Fall/Winter 2017, he opted for less youthful options and more red carpet fare, directed by a somber, almost funereal parade of smoldering gowns and theatrical looks. Inspired by the romantic 19th century ballet Giselle, Saab displayed miles of tulle, chiffon, and lace, transformed into preternaturally beautiful dresses and long riding capes. Midnight floral embroidery and appliqués also made their mark on leather jackets, frocks, and the occasional choker. Accessories like thigh-high velvet boots, fur-trimmed peep-toe booties, and jeweled tights had strong commercial appeal.

While we need no persuading to reach for statement sleeves and menswear tailoring for Fall/Winter 2017, Nina Ricci’s Guillaume Henry put a pretty interesting twist on the trends. His influence was the early days of the American West – one part Darling Clementine and one part Calamity Jane. It was sophisticated but stylized, with looks bearing metal tipped points, fringe, contrasting yokes, leather patches on corduroy, and the occasional bolero necklace. These Western elements, when applied to supremely chic dresses, luxurious outerwear, and coordinated separates, felt far removed from their points of origin. Henry’s makeover was so thorough that it convinced us that cowgirl style could actually be classic and not costume-y. Just forego the cowboy boots, and opt for stretchy Nina Ricci leather boots in an elegant neutral or charming pastel instead.

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