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Elie Saab Haute Couture Spring Summer 2014 Paris

The title of the spring/summer 2014 Elie Saab show was “The Promise of Spring.” This alluded to the many floral inspirations- a favorite starting point for Saab- that the designer wove into his latest couture collection.

There was the color palette- based on the work of Sir Lawrence Alma- Tadema whose paintings of beautiful languid women from the Romain Empire lounging on marble furniture have been college dorm room poster fodder for generations of girls. Then there were the elaborate embellishments- three dimensional fabric blooms sprouting out of beaded ensembles. And finally the abstract flower prints Saab incorporated into the bodice of some of his more grandiose gowns rounded out the reference points.

But the real promise of this collection was the introduction by Saab of a selection of chicly sober and pleasingly plain designs. The quiet draping or ombré shading of these mousseline ensembles, which the designer scattered throughout his flower filled show, connected with the audience simply through their absences of artifice. They were Saab’s nod to the trending “real world” couture movement that is currently transforming the field.

Another modern touch was the inclusion of pockets on all the capped sleeve, floor skimming dresses and notched bustier ball gowns. And the choice to give a number of the skirts an “Angelina Jolie slit” added a jolt of sex appeal to these feminine frocks.

Overall this collection was done with a lighter touch then has recently been seen on the Saab catwalk. And this collection's wide assortment of elegant gowns were all the better for it.