July 3, 2013 § Leave a comment
There is one statement I can make definitively about Elie Saab dresses – they are each and every one very pretty. They reflect an aesthetic that has been beamed into women’s heads since we were all little – tulle with sparkle. It’s an easy chord to strike within the female of the species because it reminds us of Barbies and wedding dresses and fairy tales and movie stars. It’s timeless, it’s a look that existed since before photography was invented – empresses and queens painted in dresses of sparkling tulle that looks more like fairy dust than anything real.
Elie Saab has captured this ideal perfectly and has consistently delivered the same basic idea of a dress, rendered in slightly differing ways, for years now. The palette is almost always the same – the basic grey and gold plus a few other muted, non-confrontational colors. His dresses are flattering to the figure, nipping in the waist, emphasizing the bust, but not too tight to reveal anything a woman might not be comfortable with. It’s this basic formula that’s gotten his dresses, on average, on the red carpet about 100 times a year for the last three years.
It was when I started to do coverage of these red carpet events that I developed ‘Saab fatigue.’ Hoping someone will take a fantastic risk that pays off, like Nicole Kidman in the 90s, then getting actress after actress in the Elie Saab. I understand why this women are drawn to these dresses – they are guaranteed to look pretty in their safeness. The worst dressed list nowadays usually consists of those who dare to wear something edgy, something different than this Saab aesthetic. A woman in a Elie Saab dress is a pretty thing to behold, but it’s not fashion defining, it’s not an epic moment in fashion’s history. It’s hard to distinguish one Saab dress from another most of the time, and makes me wonder what exactly he’s designing each year if every time I see one of his looks on the red carpet I can’t find anything unique about it. More than anything I want to see women in clothes as unique as women are themselves, not a cookie cutter pattern of what’s deemed as neutral by the world.
June 30, 2013 § Leave a comment
When I think of Versace, currently and stretching back since Donatella took over the house, I think of three words: sexy, dependable, predictable. I always know that the Versace collection is going to be at least two of these things (though Donatella rarely misses the mark when it comes to sexy.) There is a Versace mold – slinky dresses, cut outs, detailed fabrics, deep v necks, high slits, very light or a very dark palette. On the few occasions Donatella has broken away from these lines and the collection has been a disaster – I believe the Spring 2013 RTW is an example of this. Being a fan of this Versace look, I’m rarely disappointed by the collections, but predictability is not exactly something a fashion house wants. Fashion, especially haute couture collections, are supposed to be the cutting edge of the new, the next thing we’re all going to be wearing or wanting to wear. When you already basically know what a house is going to put out during a show, it’s hard for them to keep the focus, and I would definitely say the Versace is starting to fall out of focus with the head pack of fashion houses now.