by Allyson Portee
  • 4 minute read
  • January 26, 2020
Here Are 6 Couture Collections By Arab Designers You Need To Buy

Elie Saab’s ode to opulence

The Lebanese couturier’s SS20 collection descended upon the runway with looks that reflected Elie Saab’s distinct aesthetic vocabulary, and this time, they were an exquisite meditation on the regal pasts of Europe and Imperial Mexico. He painted an intriguing visual of a woman who receives a letter summoning her to Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City, an imperial residence that marries the marvel of European and Mexican architecture. There, she wanders about in couture, immersed in swirls of embroidery and pearl embellishments that glisten from afar.

So intrinsically Elie Saab, the collection is bedecked with ruffles, rosettes and bows, and silhouettes that range from bodices to long capes and trains exuding femininity. Also think about tulles, bishop sleeves and floral motifs including azaleas. And then, there’s the Elie Saab bride in a dress so special it could bring a tear. The bridal gown’s intricate detailing means that Elie Saab spent days perfecting it and it shows. No surprises that this is a collection filled with glitz, glamor and glory.

Georges Hobeika’s Sardinian sensation

Set in Paris’ Théâtre National de Chaillot at Haute Couture Week this month was Georges Hobeika’s show that summoned up the beaches of Sardinia. A feminine collection that will transport you to the bygone era of the 1950s, the collection features strong influences from the Mediterranean coast, evoking an image of its glistening sand and azure water. Hobeika deeply draws on nature and the ideas of freedom and entertainment.

Hobeika is known to think big and he does so in this collection with the use of large fringed sleeves, shoulder pads and oversized hats with fringes that bring to mind the umbrellas that lace the vast expanses of Italian beaches. The resulting pieces boast a superb mix of techniques, including laser cutting and openwork patterns in vibrant spurts of color, all referencing the maison’s impeccable craftsmanship.

Rami Al Ali’s orchid obsession

Syrian couture designer Rami Al Ali’s collection unfolded at the exquisite Hotel Le Meurice in Paris and featured 22 creations, all giving a nod to the orchid. The collection isn’t just about the beauty of the flower but also about what the flower represents – delicate, decadent and a work of art. Architectural silhouettes are an inherent part of the designer’s offerings and this collection was no less sculptural, with a color palette ranging from lime green to coral to turquoise, all flecked with gold. A celebration of textures and materials including tulle, organza, muslin, Mikado and silk, this is a thoughtful collection that’s Rami’s tasteful take on minimalism.

Rabih Kayrouz’s worldview

Amidst the Lebanese revolution, Rabih’s SS20 collection pays homage to resilient women who swim against the tide in a world rife with distress. A deeply contemplative show, Rabih’s pieces took to a silent runway, creating an eerie setting that summoned up the deafening impact of political and economic crises around the world.

The pieces have delicate silhouettes and feature geometric patterns that create a sense of symmetry in a world gone awry. Rabih has always been a strong proponent of strong and elegant women and this collection is a tribute to their unwavering spirit.  Using contrasting fabrics, from cotton toile to sleek silks to wool-cashmere blend, Rabih’s collection features impeccable tailoring and craftsmanship. 

Rami Kadi’s Kaleidoscope of Color

The Lebanese designer took a different route to showcase his SS20 collection via a cyber fashion show that went live across his maison’s social media channels. The collection takes a cue from a kaleidoscope, which reflects in both its colorways and 3D techniques. A heartfelt commentary on the ongoing environmental crisis, the pieces pose a pertinent question: Is it possible to reconcile the true with the beautiful?

Using layering, varied hues, materials and shapes, Kadi has created a symphony of texture and pattern that plays with light. “The beautiful does not need embellishment, nor does it need filters,” he says. “The beautiful is free-standing, and it is one and the same with reality. This is why only transparency is worthy of the beautiful. My quest is for enhancing the beauty of what is real through transparency.”

Zuhair Murad’s Egyptian Embrace

The Lebanese designer is known for producing exotic collections and his SS20 collection is no different. Debuted at Paris’ Hotel Potoki, the theme ‘Féminines Sacrées’ offered a trip to Egypt. Egyptian Queens Nefertiti and Isis, among others, are the inspirations behind this collection, as they all left an indelible mark on the country’s history with their beauty and power. Zuhair’s distinct collections are cut and embellished in a way that’s characteristic of his design.

Each piece is a lesson in timeless elegance and attention to detail. From bold necklines to scintillating breastplates bedecked with jewels, all the pieces in the collection shone bright on the runway. Textiles from silk tulle, brocade, silk muslin, lurex, to duchess satin have been used with a color palette featuring cyan, eglantine pink, turquoise, vermilion, and opalin, which bring out the regal theme of the collection.

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