Elie Saab has carved a brilliant career out of adorning women. The wildly talented designer’s luxurious evening looks and opulent wedding gowns are favored by Hollywood stars and princesses alike. Conceived to make ladies feel divine, Saab’s couture dreams made of chiffon, lace and tulle capture an ephemeral essence. The visionary’s ambitious wish is to “turn every woman into a butterfly, to make her every movement appear buoyed by a passing breeze, as if any moment she could fly away.” So far countless belles, including Queen Rania of Jordan, Halle Berry, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Elizabeth Hurley have lifted off the ground, thanks to his magic touch. Unless you have a fear of soaring heights, you might be next.
Born in Lebanon in 1964, Elie’s childhood was colored by his insatiable curiosity for art. This passion paved the way for his impressive career spanning from a modest atelier in Beirut to Paris’ Haute Couture runways. The secret to Saab’s success is his inimitable ability to manipulate the theatrical element of moda. Completely disinterested in daywear, the maestro of lavish creations prefers to stick to what he knows best. In fact, he readily admits, “Why should I bother when I know that evening and wedding dresses are my specialties? When I know that the very nature of such a dress, which demands spectacularly rich fabric, intricate beading, and always a touch of fantasy, means I can create clothes that complement or even amplify the high points of a woman’s life.”
From coronations to the Oscars, Elie Saab’s instantly recognizable signature style steals the show. Remember Halle Berry’s Academy Award win in garnet taffeta or her golden tulle dip in the arms of Adrian Brody? Yes indeed, as the Saab touch renders a special moment simply unforgettable. The perfect synthesis of Western elegance and arabesque flair, one of kind Elie Saab creations flatter the female form infinitely.
Transforming women into modern-day goddesses is Beirut’s precious genius’ lifelong pursuit. Inspired by the rich tapestry of his culture and influenced by his admiration for top European Houses, Saab weaves together unique elements to articulate his art. His ready-to-wear line, launched in 1998 in Milan, is drenched in the same feminine aesthetic as his couture work. Combining magnificent fabrics and intricate Middle Eastern details with an unapologetic larger-than life feeling; Elie Saab’s designs are classically regal, yet unmistakably sexy.
Though many of his high profile devotees are in Hollywood and Europe,
Saab’s base of operations is in his homeland. He justifies this decision by saying, “I prefer to be in my country because I have a staff that understands how I want to make clothes.” However, this reluctance to relocate to a hub of panache, even in the name of earning new clients, suggests a deep attachment to his roots. And who can blame him? The glamourous pages of Saab’s
chronicles, from humble beginnings to the zeneith of the fashion pyramid,
have been drafted on his native soil. However, the fascinating journey
of the young boy with a penchant for art is far from complete, for
many butterflies still need wings.
FASHIONLINES ASKS ELIE SAAB
Fashionlines: How would you describe the Elie Saab Woman?
Elie Saab: Feminine, elagant and crazy about glamour.
Fashionlines: What is classic elgance?
Elie Saab: Classic egance is wearing something that fits and highlights the beauty of a woman’s curves and shape. It is also refusing to be a fashion victim.
Fashionlines: What inspires you? Do you have a muse? How do different influences find life in your clothes?
Elie Saab: The woman is my only inspiration. I design while thinking of a beautiful woman wearing my dress.
Fashionlines: If you could women all over the world one stylistic advice, what would that be?
Elie Saab: Wear what fits you and highlights your figure.