Elie Saab leans into joyful renewal at Paris Fashion Week

Loewe and Hermes shows were equally headline-grabbing this week

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In the busy fashion schedule of Paris Fashion Week, it is not easy grabbing headlines, yet that is precisely what Loewe has done.

In the stables of the Paris police, the Spanish leather house delivered a show centred around one very simple element: the anthurium flower. With its distinctive waxy red leaf, it is a flower like no other, lacking petals, scent or anything even remotely soft and romantic. Instead, it looks bizarre — fake even — which is why it worked so well as a visual running through creative director Jonathan Anderson's spring/summer 2023 show on Friday.

It arrived as a decoration on a single shoe — the other left plain — and as a hard breastplate attached to a short, A-line dress. It arrived as a bralet on a long, fluid gown, and inspired the conventional florals that decorated a series of armoured dresses; short, moulded forms that stood away from the body.

The strange form of the anthurium flower was the theme at the Loewe womenswear spring/summer 2023 show. Getty

Elsewhere, Anderson served up leather shirts and jumpers stretched into dresses of outlandish proportions, and leaned into the skill of the house to conjure leather dresses that move like cotton, and high-waisted shorts.

In typical Anderson manner, he also threw a "glitch" into his otherwise immaculate offering, as two looks made from pixels. Like a low-resolution image that has been blown up too big, the clothes came with jagged edges and as squares of colour, just to remind us all that we are all slaves to the matrix.

Elie Saab leans into joyful renewal

Unashamedly gorgeous florals at Elie Saab for spring/summer 2023. Getty

Lebanese designer Elie Saab presented his latest collection on Saturday, day five of fashion week in the French capital.

Like so many of his fellow countrymen and women, Saab has had to endure so much over the past three years, including losing his home in the terrible Beirut explosion of August 4, 2020. Perhaps so much suffering and unhappiness has prompted the designer instead to lean into the joyful renewal of springtime for spring/summer next year, when leaves bud and blossoms open.

Saab's entire collection is an ode to this miraculous transformation, when the severity of winter gives way to the beauty of growth and new life. Fresh spring greens and blossoms arrived scattered on long, flowing dresses, either as literal flowers in bright chartreuse or as pointillist dots of colour. More chlorophyll arrived as blasts of different shades of green, such as a lawn green dress with a great bloom on one shoulder, or as palazzo pants and a cropped top in zesty lime.

Unashamedly gorgeous, this was Saab at his very best, as he surrendered to his yearning to simply try to make the world a more beautiful place.

Hermes is sublimely beautiful

The timeless Hermes show for spring/summer 2023 was about workmanship rather than trends. AFP

Over at Hermes, which also showed on day five, a very different take on reality was offered; as a world filled with long, languid, summer days.

Catering to high-net-worth individuals unfazed by the vagaries of seasonal trends, creative director of womenswear, Nadege Vanhee-Cybulski, once again offered sublimely beautiful pieces that are, in their very essence, conceived to be timeless.

This came in the form of a loose-cut tunic dress in buttermilk, cut to drape off the shoulder just-so, and high-waisted, tan leather trousers teamed with a very strappy swimsuit. A perforated leather jacket that can be carried over the shoulder with a strap also made its way down the runway.

There were cotton trousers, cut to be roomy, and worn with a duster coat and strappy, platform sandals. To break up the expensive-looking, soothing shades of caramel and honey, Vanhee-Cybulski offered pops of colours as a chiffon dress in blocks of orange, peach and tangerine, and even a trouser suit in tangy orange.

Street style at Paris Fashion Week: snowman suits to artfully undone looks — in pictures

Updated: October 02, 2022, 6:58 AM
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