From its great Nile, praised in poetry, literature, music and art, irrigating the imaginations of Arabs for generations, to its people, their ingenuity and preservation of culture, Egypt has been a source of light, inspiration and richness for civilizations; a guardian of Arab memory. For Spring Summer 2017, ELIE SAAB pays tribute to an Arab epoch that left us with a priceless cultural and artistic heritage.
Enjoying an atmosphere of stability and freedom around the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, Egypt welcomed travellers and immigrants from the Levant. There, they were able to express themselves and their creative talents, transforming Egypt into a hub for progress and allowing Arabic culture to flourish.
The period of the 40s to 60s in Egypt was when Arabic music saw its rise to stardom, through the influence of Egyptian, Lebanese and Syrian artists like Oum Kalthoum, Leila Mourad, Mohamad Abdel Wahab, Farid Al Atrash, Nour el Hoda and Sabah; whose voices, songs, melodies and lyrics inhabited the souls of Arabic-speaking audiences across the world.
There in lies the ELIE SAAB Spring Summer 2017 woman, who is a reflection of that golden era and a muse for the creative mind. She is a woman who appreciates artistic excellence, cultural wealth and sophistication: strong yet delicate, elegant and free.
ELIE SAAB travelled back in time, drawing inspiration from the everlasting pool of talents from that era: to a scene where Leila Mourad’s enchanting voice meets Nour el Hoda’s passion for singing. Where Mohammad Abdel Wahab’s artistic stature converses with Omar Sharif’s charm and allure. Where Hind Rostom and Sabah’s seductive natures flirt with Farid Al Atrash’s sensitivity, and where Shadia’s light-hearted yet mature talent comes across Abdel Halim Hafez’s charisma and romance.
Paying tribute to this woman, ELIE SAAB reveals a sharp and creative take on Oriental patterns and architectural lines that form symbols and star shapes, appearing on long, voluminous or mid-length dresses. Intricate embroidery illustrates palm trees that reflect the height and grace of those in Doumyat city while unforgettable scenes of boats dancing on the Nile recall, in a dream-like haze, the collection’s light, fluid fabrics that are constructed to float upon its breeze.
Embroidery inspired by Arabic calligraphy also covers smooth and transparent fabrics such as tulle, lace and mousseline.
And while some silhouettes are soft, with fabric delicately draping around the shoulders, other angular cuts reveal parts of the back and emphasize the beauty of the neck. Accessories merge the modernity of form with the classic appeal of stones.
They are a reinterpretation of styles from an epoch where ‘starlets’ wore striking gowns, painted their lips, and embraced their femininity. It is through nuances of grey and shades of blue, white and blush that ELIE SAAB injects light and color into those black and white images that are immortalized in our memories.
And it is his creative take that brings those magical moments of the past back to life.