The grandfather of Arab couture, Elie Saab, paved the way for many of today’s talented designers from the Middle East. Without his pioneering efforts, we might not have the extraordinary beauty of Zuhair Murad, Georges Hobeika, and other regional designers who appeared on the Paris Haute Couture Week calendar for Fall 2017 Couture.
In Savoir Flair’s round-up below, discover the amazing collections and works of art put forward by Arab designers, and marvel over just how far they’ve come in making their respective marks on the fashion industry.
Andalusia, a region at the southernmost point of Spain that bridges the gap between Europe and North Africa, offered plenty of inspiration for Georges Hobeika’s Fall 2017 Couture collection entitled ‘The Magic of Andalusia’. At the crossroads of many cultures, the Lebanese red-carpet couturier found artistic ways to render the patterns and colors that make Andalusia special into stunning gowns.
Late 19th century and early 20th century styles informed Zuhair Murad’s Fall 2017 Couture collection by way of the iconic Gibson Girls. These illustrations, created by Charles Dana Gibson, perpetuated a certain type of feminine ideal that was both fragile and voluptuous. Murad teased out this theme with sinewy gowns that promoted an hourglass figure and lots of glamorous elements like marabou feather trim and bespoke lace.
Rami Al Ali
Syrian designer Rami Al Ali wowed us with another superlative collection for Fall 2017 Couture, this time inspired by the art of Abbott Handerson Thayer. Thayer is an American artist best known for his ‘Angel’ series, which depicts angels with beautifully detailed garments and feathered wings. Designing according to couture techniques, Al Ali made stunning use of the female form by sculpting longline gowns in feminine shades of crimson, champagne, and blush pink. These beautiful gowns offered complexity by way of expensive fabrics that were engineered from multiple layers, enshrouding the body like soft angel wings.
Rami Kadi loves optical illusions and has mastered the art of rendering them onto lavish high-end ballgowns and cocktail dresses in vibrant hues and amazing beaded arrangements. Entitled ‘Sweet Chaos’, his Fall 2017 Couture collection takes the confusion of life and injects it with allure – making this presentation more sweet than chaotic. His eye-catching patterns swirl down the front of peacock-hued dresses and entertain the eye with a unique interplay of texture, material, color, and embellishment.
For Fall 2017 Couture, Lebanese designer Georges Chakra was inspired by the fallen leaves, rising winds, and colors of fall and winter. That means autumnal tones, icy pastels, and luxurious greenery combined on the runway for a vivid collection that turned preconceived notions on their head. Portions of the show were leggy and sensual – ideal for a cocktail occasion – while others were floor-length and formal, which made them perfect for the red carpet.
Elie Saab assured his position at the top of everyone’s “Best of Fall 2017 Couture” list with an absolutely breathtaking collection inspired by warrior queens. It seems fitting, what with the rising tide of empowering feminist messaging that has lately been washing over the fashion industry, that Saab would focus his attentions on strong female characters. Naturally, the level of embellishment and decoration on each garment was unmatched by any other designer at Paris Haute Couture Week.
While Sakina Paris’ intimate presentation for Fall 2017 Couture showcased one supremely beautiful dress in the maison’s signature shade of red, the talented young designer branched out to include a new asset: handbags. In similar shades of red, her new bags were hand-stitched with talismans like snakes, salamanders, and spiders, juxtaposing them with luxurious, bespoke details.