To see Elie Saab's haute couture show and pre-fall lineup on the same day gives you a good sense of how much his company has grown. It wasn't all that long ago that his ready-to-wear collections were devoted strictly to cocktail and event dressing. His pre-fall offerings put the emphasis primarily on clothes to wear before dark.

Saab is justly famous for the attention he lavishes on beadwork; here, his laser focus was directed at fit. His customers like their sleeveless sheaths second-skin snug, with a kicky peplum at the waist, and their suits cut with an exacting precision. You couldn't slouch in these clothes if you tried. To keep the familiar silhouettes fresh, he explored the idea of collage. A chesterfield came with doubled revers, a velvet blazer with contrasting wool sleeves, and dresses in geometric blocks of color. Sheer insets featured on many of the looks.

Counterbalancing all of that rigor was a series of caftans, both short and long, some with asymmetrical sleeves. He's often put caftans on the runway, but they're usually beaded to the hilt. These had an unfettered appeal that made them believable for day.