Steadfastly refusing to take last summer's conflict in Lebanon as any kind of setback, Elie Saab said he based his couture collection on "the colors of dawn over Beirut," and his compatriots' ability "to make beautiful things in the face of adversity." Compared with his recent all-gold, reach-for-your-shades ready-to-wear show, that made for a lighter and somewhat subtler affair in silvered tints of blue, lilac, and eau-de-nil.
Still, Saab isn't a couturier to hammer on high concepts or political subtexts. With the Golden Globes down and Beyoncé, Felicity Huffman, and Sheryl Crow in the bag, he's produced a gazillion more options for Oscar nightand for any other event at which a girl might find herself in need of a scintillating something or other. Spun out en masse, the vast array of dresses in either fluid metallics or accordion pleats made for a slightly daunting fashion show. But there were winners, including a pale-blue silvery wrap gown and several floating asymmetries of beaded lace with irregular necklines and interesting volumes at the back that will photograph well from every angle on the red carpet. He's learning.