|Dior boutique at Villagio Doha|
Dressed in pajamas in my bed on my Qatar Airways flight back to New York, I watched several movies; 4 to be precise. That's easy to do on a 14 hour flight. You can even fit in a 5 hour nap and three full meals.Once I'd exhausted the film choices I started surfing the video library and happened upon the spring 2012 collection of Elie Saab. I've always discounted him as a spangle crazy, red carpet hustler satisfying the needs of the J Lo's of the world...not exactly my cup of Joe. He and others like Zuhair Murad are some of the truly popular couturiers in the Middle East not excluding the usual players that crowd the Paris scene. They succeed in places like Doha, Dubai, and Riyadh because they happily pile on the crystals, paillettes, pearls and kilometers of silver and gold thread satisfying tastes that are in general way, way over the top. They do so without complaint with fees that equal the cost of a perfectly nice house, delivering them by the jumbo-jet load. I'm sure that some of the wooden crates I saw being transported from the bellies of cargo planes on the tarmac were gilded creations enroute to some lucky princesses desert palace compound, which brings me to the subject of weddings.
My point in all of this is that Elie Saab consequently never registered very high on my radar until I watched his show at 36,000 feet. I watched it about 6 times in a row and would have watched a 7th if the captain hadn't interrupted the show with the announcement that we were landing in 5 minutes and it was time to climb out of bed and put some clothes on. Though there were pailletes on many dresses and gowns, the collection was very glamorous, colored beautifully in whole sections of white, saffron, jade, blue/grey, and melon but was surprisingly minimal in overall detail. The shapes were deceptively simple and yet, young, modern and unstudied. It was a marvel to see looks that had all the jazz a "special occasion" calls for minus the vulgar, the obvious or the gratuitous. The only collection on the New York runway that came close would be Carolina Herrera this past season. She's another one I'd lost interest in like Oscar de la Renta with season upon season of oddly unsophisticated clothes heavy on the self conscious and light on real chic. Her brand of elegance has been too often about refusing nothing, but this season it was fantastic. It was everything I miss from Blass, Oscar, Valentino, Ungaro and Balmain. Herve Pierre, her creative director and his second in command hit a home run. Elie Saab did the same and more.
Watching his collection over and over was like the fashion show equivalent of the Mile High Club. It gave me a rush, I felt all yummy inside and wanted to go for seconds, well in this case, 7ths. Check it out and see if you get a little tingle. Even the girls walking the show were sexy, sexy, sexy along with a selection of music that was equally good.
It's great to be back home. Happy Easter! Happy Passover! Happy Weekend!