Lebanese designers amp up the drama on the couture runways

Georges Hobeika and Maison Rabih Kayrouz unveiled their spring/summer collections in a glorious parade of colour and texture

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The catwalks in the French capital came alive yesterday in a flutter of feathers and shimmer of sequins, as Haute Couture Week kicked off in Paris. The four-day biannual event brings together renowned maisons from around the world to present their latest couture collections, each a study in masterful tailoring, skillful embellishment and opulent glamour.

The spring/summer 2019 season is no exception, with labels such as Schiaparelli, Christian Dior and Ralph & Russo unveiling a series of imaginative gowns and delicately constructed separates on Monday. Day one also saw two designers from the region take to the runways, showcasing their couture creations to a front row packed with fashion editors, industry insiders and style stars.

Fit for a queen

Lebanese couturier Georges Hobeika this season took inspiration from the era of Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France whose reign ended during the French Revolution.

The lavish essence of the royal’s residence, the palace of Versailles, was captured in baroque embroidery and nostalgic silhouettes reminiscent of the 18th century – but reimagined with a contemporary twist (think jumpsuits and metallic strapless numbers).

Laced with lashings of beads, crystals and super-fine needlework, each piece demonstrated why couture is such an art form (with only a handful of labels around the world officially allowed to call themselves haute couture).

Majestic and architectural, Hobeika’s collection was crafted with a focus on soft, pastoral hues, incorporating an idyllic spread of botanical details.

See more from the collection in the gallery above.

Maison Rabih Kayrouz, however, sent out a couture collection rich in block colours and clean lines, fused with plenty of louche layering.

The Lebanese designer – who earlier this month became only the 17th fashion label to be granted prestigious haute couture status – assembled a refreshingly diverse cast to model his creations, including Spanish dancer and choreographer Blanca Li and veteran French model Mino Sassy.

Kayrouz, now a mainstay on the haute couture calendar after recognition from the Fédération Française de la Couture, presented couture, ready-to-wear and menswear as part of his 44-look collection.

Seemingly simple staples – such as crisp white shirts – were given an avant-garde edge with open sleeves, while silky, sheath-like gowns cast in jewel tones were minimal yet decadent in their exemplary construction.

Ribbed midi dresses, high-necked draped maxis and open knits were imbued with an air of fluidity, resulting in a collection that felt free yet high-fashion all at once.

Couture week, which will continue until January 24, will welcome heritage labels such as Chanel and Givenchy to the runway before its end, as well as Lebanese favourites including Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad.

See more from the collection in the gallery above.


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