Lights, cameras, glamour: the best of the Middle Eastern designs at Couture Week

Red carpet favourite Elie Saab was among the regional labels hitting the runways in Paris this week

It may only run for 96 hours, but Haute Couture Week leaves behind a legacy that will weave itself into glitzy bashes and red carpets for months to come.

The biannual four-day event draws to a close in Paris today, with labels such as Xuan and Aganovich set to showcase their spring/summer 2019 couture collections before the style set disperses across the globe once more.

However, it was day three of the high-fashion event that was particularly memorable this season, with maisons including Valentino and Balmain sending their designs down the runways (with the latter making a return to couture for the first time in 16 years).

Labels of the region were also well represented on the catwalk, with some of the Arab world’s most renowned designers presenting their most skillful creations. Here, we explore some of the most romantic, theatrical looks from three Middle Eastern names.

Elie Saab

The Lebanese couturier took inspiration from the depths of the Caribbean Sea, unveiling a fantastical collection replete in mesmerising embellishments, soft, fluid fabrics and artful layering. Gowns rippled with scales of liquid-like sequins, ruffles rippled like the ocean’s current, and a clash of coral-influenced colours swam across voluminous taffetas.

Details were subtly crafted in the shapes of the sea’s wildlife, while mermaid-fit dresses also carried the collection’s theme throughout. Saab, who has dressed stars such as Jennifer Lopez and Halle Berry for numerous awards seasons, delivered plenty of his signature glitz and glamour, but with a renewed air of luminosity and lightness.

Swimsuit-style one-pieces and jumpsuits added a modern touch, as did mini dresses crafted with 3D blossoms. The closing look – a crystal-encrusted tulle bridal gown – was pure romance, however; a classic demonstration of delicately constructed couture.

See more from the collection in the gallery above.

Zuhair Murad

An underwater dreamland was also what this Lebanese designer concocted for spring/summer 2019, presenting a collection rich in aquatic references. From shell-inspired structures to oceanic hues, each exquisitely crafted piece gave a nod to the sea – but with an ‘80s twist.

Think plenty of volume, shimmer and asymmetric lines – but executed with a refined touch. Silk-printed gowns and billowing chiffon trains ensured plenty of movement on the runway, with a dose of slinky, figure-hugging options likely to find favour in Murad’s A-list fans, such as Kate Beckinsale and Eva Longoria.

The colour palette swayed from inky blues through to pale aquas, peppered with soft-pink corals and twinkling silvers, for a finish that was oceanic and ethereal.

See more from the collection in the gallery above.

Rami Kadi

This Lebanese-American designer took heed from Burning Man, the annual music festival held in Nevada’s Black Rock desert. Offering up a kaleidoscopic explosion of colour and sparkles, Kadi’s couture collection was inspired by the festival’s “free spirit and creativity”. And creative the final result was – a line that blended glittery modern minis, shimmering leggings, and silhouette-skimming gowns, complete with feathered wings.

Laser-cut embellishments, iridescent sequins and neon touches made it a wholly contemporary affair, with the headpieces a stand-out of the catwalk display. Custom-created for Kadi by Atelier Bruna Abreu, the towering accessories dialled up the collection’s drama with their high-shine finish.

See more from the collection in the gallery above.