Elie Saab: Reliving Party Time
"I remember the Seventies very well," said the designer, who would have been a young teenager when clubbers hit the dance floor at Studio 54.
"I lived the Seventies, but I exaggerated. My woman likes to be happy and beautiful. The style is simple, but it is all about movement."
Cue dance music as loud as the pink catwalk was sparkling and the dresses loaded with patterns of stars. They exploded colourfully over a dark background to illuminate short dresses, or they were worked more subtly into chiffon. This overdose was of colour, shine and print — think of a gilded tuxedo, a star-patterned top and rainbow handbag.
What made the Saab show different from others on the luxe party fashion circuit is the workmanship, so that an impeccable navy cloak just flashed pattern on the inside and those masculine tuxedos toned down the drama.
There was not much of a nod to day wear — unless you count a sleek navy dress with gilded grommets as decoration at waist and armpit lines. But the cut and drape of the evening clothes proved that you don't have to join a rainbow coalition to stay in style.
Where do the stars that are appearing all over Paris runways come from? No, designers don't get together to suggest that star patterns are in: it's just that thing called fashion. And from the colourful sparkles through to the bodice of an all-in-one tuxedo, Elie Saab was right on message.
"Fausto" read the scarlet letters between two centurion heads on a T-shirt worn to take his bow by designer Fausto Puglisi.
The cut of the shoulder line — wings of leather on a slender dress or with a ruffle neckline spilling over the tops of the arms — immediately suggested the designers, including Emanuel Ungaro, who had created an orgy of gorgeousness in the post Punk period.
While Fausto's own label, shown in Milan, was heavy with symbolism about religion and prisons, this collection was just straightforward clothes. Except that most of the outfits were both complex and excellent in their cut.
Starting with the body, the designer made the form-fitting shapes burst out into frills, from organza flower petals framing the face, to a chiffon skirt, its bouncy layers opening up below slim leather-covered hips.
The mix of hard and soft, sleek and frilly, was done with professional panache.
And although Fausto seemed to have done this collection from his head, rather than his heart, he is bringing the Ungaro fashion spirit alive again.