Fashion: designer lights up Parisian catwalks

23rd January 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 22, 2007 (AFP) - Lebanese designer Elie Saab kicked off four days of haute couture catwalk shows here on Monday with glamorous goddess gowns that glinted like a new day dawning over his native Beirut.


PARIS, Jan 22, 2007 (AFP) - Lebanese designer Elie Saab kicked off four days of haute couture catwalk shows here on Monday with glamorous goddess gowns that glinted like a new day dawning over his native Beirut.

Even if his troubled country currently faces political disunity and economic woes, Saab sent out a harmonious vision of full-blooded, fitted femininity, lit up in pastels and sequins, for spring/summer 2007.

"It's not easy but the Lebanese always rise above all difficulties," the designer said after his show in the French capital, which later this week hosts an international donors' meeting for Lebanon.

Despite a protest organised by the pro-Syrian opposition in Beirut since December 1 aimed at ousting the Western-backed government, Saab said for him it was business as ususal.

"Really we are used to this situation, with regard to the house of Elie Saab we are working normally," he said at the start of a busy couture schedule that also saw shows by Christian Dior and Valentino on the opening day.

His 'Goddess of Dawn' collection began with dainty cocktail dresses in lace, exquisitely embroidered with sequins or pearls that picked up the light and were paired with a bolero.

He expertly used Grecian-esque draping and gentle pleats, as his palette moved from beige to iced blue, rose petal pink, lilac, powder grey and aqua green, and finally sultry metallic greys.

Backstage describing the light in Lebanon as "exceptional", Saab added: "I feel that my country gives me a lot of energy to move forward."

He is one of about five Lebanese couturiers to unveil made-to-measure collections in Paris, which is showcasing the luxury and craftsmanship of haute couture until Thursday.

Unlike Saab, fellow Lebanese Georges Chakra said the tension in Beirut had affected his work.

Chakra promised plenty of short dresses in pastel hues at his show on Tuesday, also offering a lightness that he said was designed to be "the opposite of what we are living at the moment".

Since Israel's devastating war with Hezbollah last July, the 47-year-old native of Beirut, who moved his atelier of about 75 workers to the mountains away from the city during the conflict, described life there as stressful.

"If you are listening to the news every night you cannot do fashion, or you cannot create," he said.

"So, I think last month I turned off the radio, no news, and focused on the collection, but it's hard because you feel like you are not stable," the married father-of-two said.

Chakra, whose biggest market is the Gulf region and whose clients include members of the Saudi royal family, has been presenting haute couture collections in Paris since 2002.

"We worked hard from September to December but it didn't recover what we lost in the summer time," said Chakra, who designed the dress worn by Jennifer Love Hewitt at the 2007 Golden Globes.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French News

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