For Spring 2020 Couture, Elie Saab Populated His Castle with Queens

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Fashion, with its infinite reference points, is a unique lens on culture. From the reaches of human imagination to earthly touchpoints, designers have spent centuries turning fantasies into reality. Take Elie Saab, the master of red carpet couture and sartorial escapism, for example. His past collections have touched on the traditional kimonos of Imperial Japan, the architecture of Antoni Gaudí, the Années folles of post-World War I Europe, the skylines of New York City, and the photographs taken by Lilah Wingfield as she traveled solo around India in 1911. 

Photo: Courtesy of Imaxtree

For Spring 2020 Couture, Saab looked to an untapped destination: Mexico. Mexico City during the late 19th century and its short-lived monarchic dynasty provided a rich vein to mine for inspiration. He was particularly inspired by the Chapultepec Castle and its baroque interiors, which were turned into embroidered motifs repeated throughout the collection.

For the best of fashion fantasy, one need not look far.

Geometric cut-out gowns echoed the castle’s elaborate stained-glass windows and lavish crown moldings, while others were intricately decorated with filigreed beading that mimicked the gilded ceilings and massive chandeliers of its grand halls. Surfacework is Saab’s most treasured acumen, and these looks were amazing for the sheer amount of details each boasted. However, it was the sleeves that sent this collection soaring, with leg-of-mutton shapes sending shoulders jutting skywards. Ephemeral, embellished capes completed the regal look. For the best of fashion fantasy, one need not look far. 

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