Elie Saab titled his spring/summer haute couture show “An Ode to Delicateness” and he wasn’t kidding. His collection of dresses, because 99.9% of this show was dedicated to evening dresses and gala gowns, was a celebration of ensembles in the most feminine of persuasions. Breaking his collection up into color blocks, the designer sent out a catalog of options in each hue. You like the floor skimming gown in white lace and shimmering sequins but a shorter version would work better for your event? Hold on a tea length option will be coming round the corner in a minute.
What about one in lilac, but this time with crystal covered flower appliqués? It’s just as pretty as the one before. And that was the problem with this collection. Almost everything was as pretty as the dress that came before it. Making the show something of a blur of shimmering embellishments on semitransparent pastel fabrics. There was only one moment in the collection were Saab surprised the audience.
A quartet of dresses that he cut in a faint floral print mixed with stronger black baroque patterns and given just a smattering of sequins. Understated but dramatic, those four dresses popped off the runway. As always with Saab every piece in his show would look right at home at a glamorous wedding, a debutant ball and of course on the red carpet. And I’ll take bets that a few of the outfits that were shown here in Paris will make their next appearance at the Oscars next month. Which says better than anything else that Saab’s designs serve a sartorial purpose. Even if sometime it would be nice to see him challenge his clientele just a little bit more.