Elie Saab Couture Fall Collection 2020

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In a defiant act of resilience, Elie Saab doubled down on glamour in a collection dedicated to his hometown of Beirut.

Elie Saab is not letting the devastating explosion in Beirut — nor, on a broader level, the suspension of social gatherings and red carpet events — smother his creativity.

His fall couture collection may be two months late — the Lebanese designer sat out the digital version of Paris Couture Week in July before the massive blast on Aug. 4 devastated his headquarters in Beirut — but it was worth the wait.

It was as if, faced with the apparent futility of glamour and dressing up, Saab committed even more strongly to the fairy-tale aesthetic that has made him a favorite of brides and A-listers the world over. Dubbing the collection “The Sacred Source,” he paid tribute to the beauty and resilience of his hometown.

“Elie Saab’s heart beats to the pulse of Beirut,” the press notes stated. “He owes Beirut a defiant act of hope.”

Working with a hushed palette of pale blues, blush pinks and soft greens, he conjured hourglass-shaped gowns that split open to the thigh; sheer embroidered dresses trimmed with ostrich feathers; featherlight capes, and extravagantly ruffled bodices.

Silver sequins and rhinestones were used to sometimes ethereal, sometimes armor-like effect. Paillettes glistened like dew drops on a nude dress with flowing sheer sleeves, while a blue chiffon dress with a densely embroidered bodice and trailing sleeves had a vaguely Maid Marian feel.

Saab shot the look book in a forest, where a mirrored cube accented the fantasy dimension. The scene could not be further removed from the destruction in Beirut, yet one thing was plain to see: this season, the designer and his teams literally wore their hearts on their sleeves.