After an extremely difficult year that saw all red carpet events cancelled amid the pandemic, and the designer’s home and atelier destroyed in the Beirut blast, Elie Saab could be forgiven for presenting a pared-back collection.
Instead, for his latest ready-to-wear unveiling, the Lebanese designer sent out a parade of 83 looks that danced with light and elegance.
The hardship of the year was acknowledged in several black looks, including the seven that opened Saturday's show.
Black fit-and-flare dresses came overlayed with gossamer ribboned capes, and trousers suits arrived with white-on-black polka dots. These gave way to monochrome day looks of white skirts and fluid jackets trimmed with black. All were given a harder edge with spike-heeled leather boots.
A velvet jumpsuit came trimmed with crystals, while a black and white Art Deco print ran across an A-line dress, a full-skirted dress and even a pair of silk pyjamas, perfect for lounging.
Amid the ruffles and lace trims, a micro windowpane fabric arrived as a long jacket with trousers, and a splendid jacket with culottes, worn with a pussybow blouse for a dash of city pizzazz.
With a strong focus on daywear, there were plenty of simple styles from over-the-knee dresses and fluid high-waisted trousers, to an all-white suit with kick-flare bottoms.
The colours, when they arrived, were pops of teal and a delicate shade of pale lime that was cut into a pretty, patterned tea dress. Blush pink swept in as applique flowers on a sheer black dress, and maribou feathers trimmed evening gowns, before back to black, now shot through with silver beading or panelled with barely there lace.
As a collection, this was certainly not the colour-fest we normally associate with Elie Saab, and was far darker in tone, but thanks to the designer's flowing, sweeping cuts, it carried an air of lightness, that spoke of hope after adversity.