Luxury & Fashion

Jan 31, 2016

A Love for Gowns

On March, 24, 2002, Elie Saab literally woke up famous. The fateful night for him was one of the "Oscar" awards ceremony in Los-Angeles. To appear on the red carpet, actress Halle Berry chose a gown by an unknown Lebanese designer. That night turned out to be triumphal for her, too. She was the first black actress who got this statue for the main female role; she went up the stage for the award dressed in a skimpy dress by Elie Saab: a luxuriant skirt and translucent top decorated by embroidered flowers.


This moment turned to be crucial for the designer's life, and his dress has entered the history as one of the most provoking and sexy within the whole history of the "Oscar".

The future king of the Lebanese fashion was born on July 4th, 1964, in a suburb of Beirut, in a big family of a timber merchants. Saab is a self-taught. The passion for creating ladies' gowns had manifested yet in childhood - his sisters served him models, the boy would sew his dresses out of old tablecloths and curtains, and his mothers' drawers would frequently be subjected to raidings for some lace or buttons. The patterns were done by the eight-year-old boy out of newspapers. The first dress he sewed was a blue and white striped one for his sister. The family approved of his passion considering that Eli could make an excellent tailor. Both parents were proud of their son, - in Lebanon the profession of tailor is exclusively for men, moreover, it is quite a prestigious and respectable profession. Elie's sisters would demonstrate their new dresses to their friends and were also proud of their brother.

Some time later, the young couturier started to feel that the conservatism of Eastern traditions limited the flight of his creativity. In 1981 he moved to Paris hoping to develop his talent and get education in the capital of fashion. Soon he realized that this kind of path to his dream was too slow, and, in less than a year, he returned to his motherland. There, he opened a small atelier, hired a few assistants, and started to master his profession on practice.

After a few months, on June 6th, 1982, a civil war burst out in Lebanon. What dresses could possibly one be thinking of? Paradoxically, the disorders in the country had not influenced the necessity of people to love and create families. Women, tired of the war, desired beauty. Elie was willingly investing his talent into creation of this beauty, giving people joy and hope for the better future. The Lebanese designer started to sew wedding dresses and evening gowns. That time his characteristic features appeared – the fusion of Eastern and Western traditions. The Maestro himself says the secret of his success is that, creating his dresses, he knows exactly how much to show, and how much to cover.

The first show of Elie Saab's collection took place in 1982 in the Casino du Liban in Beirut. Charmed by the feminine and romantic gowns of the collection, the public called him "the young genius", - at the time he just turned 18. Rich women wanted his dresses, among them members of royal families. In his collections, Elie used the most expensive materials, precious gems, rare lace of stunning beauty, handmade embroidery.

In the 1990s, all Europe knew him. In 2000 the Lebanese designer opened his first salon in Paris. In May, 2003, the Elie Saab Fashion House joined the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. In 2003 the Lebanese government awarded Elie Saab with the title of Chevalier of the National Order of the Republic for his contribution into the fashion industry of Lebanon. In 2005 and 2007 Elie Saab opened his first boutiques in Beirut and the Champs Elyseés in Paris. Now they are more than 60 stores. The stores and show-rooms of Elie Saab can be found in Beirut, Paris, Milan, and other cities; his representative offices are in Great Britain, the USA, Russia, and Hong-Kong.

The principles of Elie Saab's work are as follows: simple design, sophisticated materials, expensive lace and embroidery, complexity of furnishing, and the supreme quality. The flower applications, probably, are the very favourite element of the designer. Dresses, sprinkled with exquisite flowers, made of the finest silk, lace and organza, can be found in each collection of the couturier. The Queen of Jordan, Rania, looked stunning at her coronation wearing a gown by Elie Saab. Among his clients are such celebrities as Aishwarya Rai, Anna Kendrick, Christina Aguilera, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina Jolie, Celine Dion, and many others. He sells 400 – 800 dresses haute-couture annually, the price for each dress can range from $35.000 to $2,4 M.

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