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Fashion Police Files
Spring 2013 CFW : Elie Saab 
Sun, 27th Jan 2013
Firebird purple


Paris-based Lebanese designer Elie Saab is, of course, one of the most popular go-to designers for the red carpet events in Hollywood, and it's in the opinion of the Style.com reviewer, Nicole Phelps, that the Hollywood stylist's to the stars wait until the Couture runway show is staged before then choosing an Oscar gown from the designs that didn't actually appear - the theory being that even though it's still officially a Couture piece, and therefore still available to anyone who can afford to have it made for them, it will look for all the world as if you've had an exclusive design done just for you - a clever trick if it's true !! Who knows....

Elie Saab's Spring 2013 Couture Collection had many dresses that will undoubtedly make an appearance over the coming season, as expected !! He ran through a palette starting from white through pale blue and silver-grey, to that peachy-nude colour that's been so popular forever, then a big detour over to bright red and black and then back to white again for the biggest wedding dress you've seen in a long while, for the finale !! I liked this collection very much, but couldn't help thinking it was a teensy bit derivative - let's see...

He started out with a pure white evening jumpsuit which had me jumping from the start - what a gorgeous design - please let someone wear this to the Oscars !!
This reminds me of a few Givenchy designs that I've seen recently...they weren't as nice as this though !!


This was followed by a white strapless column dress with a short cape which really attracted my attention - how lovely - and original !!


Over to a rather Armani-like column dress with a matching jacket - beautiful embroidery and bead-work on the bodice...


A lot of Elie Saab's clientèle are from the Arabic peninsula, Egypt and other Muslim countries, and therefore have restrictions on showing their arms and cleavage - this is why there are always a good few designs that have long sleeves, high necklines and are most definitely not see-through !! This collection is a rare exception for Mr Saab, having a good few sheer dresses that show legs, and many other bits and pieces through the embroidery - this may well just be for the runway show of course, and a lining is probably an option.



I loved the Edwardian-style leg-of-mutton shaped sleeves with the extra-long cuffs and many tiny buttons - when these are done in fully embroidered sheer fabric like these, they don't look too heavy or thick...


Lots of illusion necklines going on here, which is a popular choice for the red carpet events, what with the success of Marchesa designs in this field...



The palette of white, nude, grey, with plenty of black and a tiny touch of red reminded me very much of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli's beautiful work at Valentino...this is exactly how they have divided their collections up right from the start, when Valentino himself retired, and come to that, he used to produce collections in these colours quite often too !! His trademark was the one or two red dresses featured near the end of his show...


I love the red dress with its matching cape - very Tom Ford...remember Gwyneth Paltrow's white column dress with a cape that she wore last year ? Hmm...



These two dresses didn't remind me of anyone else's work - they were Elie Saab through and through, and very original actually - I loved the black beaded designs on the pale pastel print...





Finally, the most baroque wedding dress I've seen in a while came out as a finale - beautiful and grand, this would be a perfect choice for a big star for her big day !! Then I had another thought - produced in a rich colour, and without the veil of course, how great would this be at the Oscars ?!!

Beautiful beadwork like this is his own speciality of course, and


The shoes were either solid ankle-strap styles, with quite high heels, or lace and leather shoes with cut away sides, in all the colours that matched the dresses...




I really don't begrudge him getting inspiration from elsewhere, as he has done such a great job of the design ideas got from elsewhere - if he got an idea from another designer and then produced a rubbish version, it would be a really bad case of copying, although it isn't really, as none of these designs are actual copies of any other designer's particular dress...it's still a great collection if a little derivative !! He will make a good living from it and get quite a few of these on the Oscars red carpet too, I'll bet !!

Sun, 27th Jan 2013 (UTC)
lovelovelove that column dress with the jacket! Loved this whole collection - and gorgeous shoes too.
Mon, 4th Feb 2013 (UTC)
Yes - I basically loved this too, but I found it a bit too reminiscent of other people's work - in other words, there was nothing new here really...
That's not to say I don't love Elie Saab's work, but it's just that he does have a tendency to produce similar things every time...little or no development of his ideas here except for those print dresses with the black beading !!
Sun, 27th Jan 2013 (UTC)
Wow, these are all gorgeous. I'm loving all the beading on these.

Only thing I'm not fond of is the wedding dress. It looks like something Marie Antoinette would wear minus the headpiece. And the headpiece isn't very flattering, IMO. But I do like a fuller gown like this, and the lace, jewels, and beading have always been favorites of mine.

*thumbs up* :)
Mon, 4th Feb 2013 (UTC)
Yes - that enormous wedding dress will not be to everyone's taste, but it's a spectacular show-ender - as a finale dress, it can't be beaten !!
Mon, 28th Jan 2013 (UTC)
Now this is a gorgeous collection!
Mon, 28th Jan 2013 (UTC)
Stunning, all of them!
Mon, 28th Jan 2013 (UTC)
Beautiful! Wasn't so fond of the capes, but that's minor. Loved the black beading on the pastel print the most. Saw several that would do Anne Hathaway quite well. I'm betting on her wearing one of the blue ones. And hey, no distracting hair/makeup on the models, yay.
Mon, 4th Feb 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the styling was very low key compared to Chanel and Dior, but that's how Elie Saab always presents his runway show - the day he uses anything other than natural make-up will be the day I change my mind about him being very samey !! His shows are as predictable as the sun rising, and that's not necessarily a good thing - sooner or later, his clientèle may want something a bit different...
Mon, 28th Jan 2013 (UTC)
These are gorgeous, especially the beading!

Thanks for posting.
Tue, 29th Jan 2013 (UTC)
I saw that white beaded jumpsuit, and my first thought was it would make a great wedding outfit for someone who isn't into dresses. These dresses are beautiful! The bead work on the wedding dress at the end is gorgeous. I do have agree, though, that I don't like the style so much.
Mon, 4th Feb 2013 (UTC)
Oh yes - you're absolutely right about the white suit - a fantastic alternative to a traditional wedding gown !!
Tue, 29th Jan 2013 (UTC)
I think the white gown with the flowers on it and the see thru skirt would make a fantastic and unusual wedding dress!

Oh I am soooo bored with everyone wearing the same dull strapless white corset dress. blahhh.
Mon, 4th Feb 2013 (UTC)
Yes - that one too, and also the white trouser suit - both great alternatives to a traditional wedding gown design, but still absolutely appropriate !!
Tue, 29th Jan 2013 (UTC)
I have to say though - I am not feeling most of the collection. It's too Mother-of-the-Bride in 1982 for me with the pastels and beading and lace and the wide sleeves.
Mon, 4th Feb 2013 (UTC)
I agree - although there's no doubt that it's true - this collection is gorgeous and glamorous etc, for me, it was very similar to designs he has produced many times before, and designs that other people have produced before too, as mentioned in my write up. Also, for the Mother-of-the-Bride a lot of them would be perfect - therefore, we should expect some older stars to be wearing these on the red carpet perhaps !!