Elie Saab: One of the Biggest Names in Fashion
Love Happens delves into one of the biggest names in fashion, the eponymous brand founded by Lebanese designer Elie Saab.
Renowned for his stunning wearable works of art. Each piece is masterfully crafted with exquisite details through magical medleys of silk, sequins, feathers, lace, crystals, gemstones, pearls, and embroidery. It’s no wonder brides and black tie event guests, in particular, swoon for his designs worldwide!
The Designer Behind It All
By 1982, following a childhood of sewing fabric scraps to create dresses for his sisters in his hometown of Damour, Lebanon, Elie Saab launched his own label in the nearby city of Beirut at age 18. This moment was not long after a civil war began in 1975 in Lebanon, but Elie was insistent on beginning his career in the country he calls home. He managed to employ 15 people, and in the months following the opening of the atelier, Elie released his first collection.
His designs soon became known for their sleek, graceful silhouettes adorned by beautiful embellishments. Feminine evening gowns and wedding dresses became the pieces we recognize and love Elie Saab’s designs for!
In 1997, Elie became the first non-Italian designer to join Italian Camera Nazionale Della Moda, a non-profit fashion organization to promote the development of the industry within Italy, and showcased his collection outside of Lebanon for the first time in Rome.
The Emergence of Elie Saab
In the years following Elie’s first show outside of Lebanon, he continued making a name for himself with the start of his ready-to-wear line in Milan and with Queen Rania of Jordan wearing an Elie Saab design for her coronation. In 2003, the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture invited Elie to become a member, making him the first Arab to be part of the governing body of French fashion houses. All of these advancements led to the brand becoming a well-known name in haute couture and an absolute Lh favorite!
There is a large roster of celebrities who have sported Elie Saab gowns on red carpets. Halle Berry is credited with originally popularizing his designs in the Hollywood sphere. In 2002, she wore an iconic sheer gown with floral embroidery and a vivid red skirt to the 74th Academy Awards, at which she won the award for Best Actress. Elie Saab himself referenced the moment as his introduction to the international market, describing it as “elegant and daring and chic.”
Since then, Taylor Swift, Meryl Streep, and Angelina Jolie are a few of the many A-listers who have become fans of Saab’s work and donned his designs on red carpets.
The fashion house has grown to have over 175 locations across five continents, with flagship boutiques in fashion hotspots of the world in Paris, London, and New York. The formerly Beirut-based company moved its main headquarters to Paris in the early 2000s as its popularity increased. Elie himself spends time between France, Lebanon, and Switzerland nowadays.
Live the Elie Saab Lifestyle
With an exquisite and sought-after aesthetic, the Elie Saab brand naturally expanded beyond fashion and into interiors. First in 2019, adding luxury furniture line Elie Saab Maison to its existing collections of haute couture, ready-to-wear, accessories, bridal, and fragrance.
Then that same year, the brand took its furniture collection beyond retail to full-on interior couture at the Grand Bleu Tower in Dubai. Partnering with Dubai real estate development company Emaar and architect Carlo Colombo, the team worked together to create the 20-tower residence with a “total look” reminiscent of the brand’s ethereal and romantic world through living, dining, bedroom, and lighting pieces. And so began Elie Saab’s fore into residential living.
Continuing to expand in the world of bespoke luxury living, the brand partnered with Gulf Islamic Investments to create the stunning Elie Saab Residences Hyde Park. Set to open in Fall 2022, the London-based Elie Saab branded residential building is another beautiful example of the company’s timeless and stylish allure. An allure the brand will certainly be continuing, as we see with the first Elie Saab branded residence in Meydan, Elie Saab Townhouses at Meydan.
Now and Into the Future
While the Elie Saab look has crossed into interiors and certainly plans to stay there, the art of Elie Saab fashion remains as strong as ever. At this year’s Fall/Winter 2022/2023 Paris Haute Couture Week, the brand expanded its lineup further with the debut of its first-ever men’s couture collection. Both the men’s and women’s haute couture collections were based on the mesmerizing experience of a sunset. The brand’s statement regarding the collection describes that “ethereal hues, opulent textures, and curvaceous lines embody the subtle in between day and night where, for a brief moment, the real and imaginary are one.”
A perfect description to capture the thrilling elegance of this collection! Soft pinks and blues, deep blacks and reds, and brilliant golds were featured in the collection, adorned with glittering gemstones, feathers, embroidery, and beads that provided an ethereal feeling to the collection. Every piece is fantastical, elusive, and beautiful, as expected from Elie Saab!
Words by Safiya Farid
Feature Image: A model is helped with her dress backstage before the Elie Saab show as part of Paris Fashion Week – Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015 at Pavillon Cambon Capucines on July 9, 2014, in Paris, France. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)