Elie Saab Steps Outside His Comfort Zone for Spring/Summer 2020

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Out of Africa and out of his comfort zone comes Elie Saab’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection, which looks different than anything the Lebanese couturier has done before. In his show notes, Saab dedicated the collection to a “reflection on the diversity than animates the great savannas of Africa”, a reflection that makes sense given how much Africa and the Middle East have in common – not the least of which is the land mass that sees the two regions connected by the Isthmus of Suez. From climate and food to instruments and architectural design techniques, Africa and the Middle East share plenty of similarities.

Photo: Courtesy of Imaxtree

These commonalities played out on the Elie Saab Spring/Summer 2020 catwalk by both converging and diverging. There are wafting kaftans and elegant silk safari looks transformed by sweeping capes, as well as jewel-colored turbans and oversized beaded jewelry – all sharing overlapping origin stories.

This melting pot of a collection shows there is no ground that Saab can’t cover.

Then there are looks embedded with DNA that can’t derive from anywhere else but Saab’s own bloodline: his astonishingly prismatic beadwork, his sensual silhouettes, the juxtaposition of supple fabrics and impeccable tailoring. Watching his work infused with codes from other cultures only serves to underscore his design intuition. This melting pot of a collection shows there is no ground that Saab can’t cover.

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