Diamonds are for ever for Elie Saab's summer


A model presents a creation by Lebanese designer Elie Saab during Spring/Summer 2008 Haute Couture collection show in Paris
Photo : Patrick Kovarik/AFP
PARIS, Jan 23, 2008 (AFP) - Lebanon's Elie Saab is one of the designers with most reason to lament if the Oscars ceremony is cancelled over the screenwriters' dispute, as custom-made red carpet gowns form the core of his couture collection.

Nothing experimental or difficult to wear, his dresses are designed to make a woman look every inch the screen goddess when she is in the limelight.

For next summer he based his palette on the rarest of precious stones -- coloured diamonds -- in citrine yellow, aqua blue and the palest pink.

He opened on Wednesday with short cocktail frocks with flippy skirts in Chantilly lace or guipure studded with strass and silver pearls.

A dainty bolero cardigan dripped with sequins, while delicate ostrich feathers ruffled hems or necklines.

Grand evening gowns were often backless sheaths pinned in front with a huge rhinestone brooch, or single-shouldered with a wide rhinestone-encrusted strap.

Sashes swished from the tightly-ruched bodices of slinky lurex numbers and big trains trailed behind in clouds of tulle with an intricate cobweb of silver embroidery and spangled with crystals and bands of sequins.

France's Franck Sorbier treated his audience to a series of delightful tableaux to present his ideas for next summer.

First came a picnic with men in denim suits and caps with frayed seams put together from vintage jeans and women in ethereal fin-de-siecle white organza dresses, with raffia-embroiderery or delicately sprinkled with hand-painted pink petals.

To sit by the seaside he showed a 1930s vintage print dressing gown over an old-fashioned cover-up corseted swimsuit. Two models with Eton crops sported fabulous pyjamas in Art Deco prints in stripes and black and white spots, accessorised by a dalmatian.

After the gentle nostalgia, he woke everybody up with a group of Tahitian drummers in raffia skirts while the models showed off exquisitely worked evening gowns in raffia and feathers and extraordinary patchworks of over-embroidered and shredded silk chiffon which are Sorbier's hallmark and proof that ethnic can be sophisticated and refined in the right hands.

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