Elie Saab's phone has been ringing all week with celebrity stylists saying they'll be calling as soon as the Couture pictures are online. Either that, or they're asking for photos of the dozen or so dresses that aren't appearing on the catwalk. If it doesn't make it down the runway, it looks custom on the red carpet, even if if isn't. That can make the difference when an actress is choosing her gown for the Oscars.
Saab seduced Hollywood years ago. The fashion crowd has taken longer to come around. Insiders saw shades of other designers in his dresses today—floor-skimming capes that called to mind Gwyneth Paltrow's white Tom Ford from last year's Academy Awards, demure necklines and long sleeves evocative of recent Valentino collections.
What was signature Saab, of course, was the beadwork, this time rendered in tone-on-tone or silvery embroideries on lace and tulle of varying transparencies. An Ode to Delicateness, he called the collection, and, indeed, with illusion necklines and sheer sleeves, his creations at times seemed to float on the body. Saab used mostly pastels, with a touch of red and black. He's always favored solid colors; prints have proven tricky for him. This time, though, a subtle multicolor floral over-embroidered in black beads produced the most charming dresses, especially a three-quarter-sleeve, full-skirted party number. It's not Oscars material, but it was a knockout.