There's quite a debate about what "haute couture" means these days, but if it can be reduced to a synonym for "occasionwear," then Elie Saab is the go-to designer, one who can be trusted to lay on a thorough service for his mainly Middle Eastern clients. Whatever the stated inspiration—in this case, the Sistine Chapel—his collection always boils down to (or rather extends into) the longest parade of evening gowns on the Paris runway. Michelangelo provided him with a color chart vaguely matched to the blues and browns of Renaissance art, one print of clouds and cerulean sky, and an excuse for letting loose with extravagant flourishes of drapery.

The silhouettes were whipped up in dozens of meters of taffeta and georgette caught up into off-the-shoulder swags, bunchy jutting bustiers, fabric rosettes, and floor-sweeping trains. If it hardly amounted to a soaringly imaginative ode to one of the greatest works in the canon of art history, Saab did add a touch that puts him in line with an emerging look of the season: a layer of lace petticoat glimpsed through beneath chiffon skirts.