Flamenco, or the Spanish folkloric tradition of music and dance that transforms the body into an instrument of percussion, was the presiding influence over Elie Saab’s Fall/Winter 2020 collection. The designer frequently embosses his work with cultural references. For his recent couture collection, he found inspiration in Mexico. Clearly, Latin America is still on his mind. Back in the middle of the 16th century, Spanish courts were rising to power. To display their prominence, courtesan dressing took on rigid opulence. Their costuming was so grand that even the courts of France and Italy followed suit.
This highly romantic excursion was Saab at his best.
Opulence is Saab’s bread and butter, so regal Spanish dressing was a natural fit for him, but he modernized the proportions and made them wearable for the modern woman. Silhouettes were cut close to the body, flattering the figure, but were embellished with flowing capes, dramatic sleeves, and maximal ruffles. Textures like silk, tulle, and velvet were cut into glamorous gowns and evening suits, and embroidered with elegant beading.
After all of those rich fabrics, one creamy knit cape came as a surprise – a bit of an outlier in the line-up. Our favorite looks sprouted feathers or were rendered in vivid jewel tones and fitted with trains. Saab also brought the bow back, using it as a decorative element to finish looks. This highly romantic excursion was Saab at his best. His runways rarely tackle trends; he exists in a lane that is very much his own making. That’s what makes him the red carpet OG. He creates and develops collections according to what has his attention at the moment. Today, it’s Spain. Tomorrow, who knows?