Elie Saab: Fashion, Fame and Fortune

Dressmaking is an art when luxury is a given and fashion fantasies come true. Designs are what you wear in the kingdom of luxury as envisaged by their creator. This is not fashion beyond reach, nor is it a place of dreams. This is Elie Saab’s imprint in the fashion industry. Welcome to Elie Saab’s world of haute couture and prêt-a-porter.
Born in Beirut in 1964, Saab was only six years old when he first displayed his flair for fashion. While other children played, he befriended the scrapbook and pen, designing his way into the awaiting world of fashion. 
In 1981 Saab went to Paris with the intention of studying fashion, but his eagerness and internal pull towards his fate found him back in Beirut the very next year setting up his own workshop. It was then that his rise to fame and fortune began.


Looking back
The first items Saab designed were an instant success, which he attributes to the fact that he always has had a strong business sense. “I initially thought like a businessman in that I designed what the market wanted; I provided what women liked to buy. My marketing strategy was very successful,” he said.
In fact, Saab’s collections attracted many clients, including royalty. His signature style of making garments using rich fabrics, lace, detailed embroidery, pearls, crystals and silk threads, put Saab in a league of his own. 
By 1986 orders were pouring in and jet setters and high rollers all wanted to be dressed in his creations. During the 1990’s, Saab moved to a larger atelier and started fulfilling orders from Paris and Switzerland. A defining point in his career was the showing of his first collection in Rome in 1997 when he became the first non-Italian designer to become a member of the Italian Camera Nazionale della Moda. 
With each passing year, Saab’s reputation grew as he took solid steps on the path to fulfilling his destiny. “I worked hard to build my good reputation and I have to work even harder now to keep it. That’s why the decisions that I make are extremely important,” he said. A definite boost on the international celebrity scene came in 2002 when Halle Berry wore his red gown to receive her Oscar Award. Together they made history as she was the first black female recipient of an Oscar, and Saab was the first Lebanese designer to dress an Oscar winner. 
Today, Saab’s name is synonymous with luxury, style, immeasurable talent and expertise. He has designed for the most sophisticated and prestigious women in Lebanon, the Middle East and the world, his primary source of inspiration being “a beautiful woman” he said, adding that it might also stem from a movie, a certain era or a period of time.


Today, the world has become accustomed to Saab’s haute couture designs, their impeccable finish, attention to detail and inimitable style. Now we can enjoy these qualities in his prêt-a-porter line as well – an endeavor that he has long dreamed of and now accomplished. “My first prêt-a-porter collection was shown in Paris in October 2005 at the Carrousel du Louvre,” Saab said proudly.
In this collection, Saab expanded his vision beyond the red carpet while preserving his signature couture approach. With organza, taffeta, silk satin, raw silk, jersey and chiffon, designs were created for both day and night, with simple lines, controlled volume and tone-on-tone textures and embroidery.


Fast forward…
In reviewing his successes to date, one could almost be certain that Elie Saab is satisfied. Wrong! Saab has countless plans for the future, which could take him in any of a multitude of directions. “An ambitious person is never satisfied and has no limits,” he stated. “The success I’ve enjoyed so far is only the beginning of the dreams I wish to achieve. I’m going to open a boutique in Paris very soon, then New York, then London. As for more Elie Saab lines, accessories and a men’s collection are in my future plans. I would also like to start a ‘home collection’… I always feel that I can still do better and accomplish more.”


On the personal side
Saab is a fashion designer and a businessman, but first and foremost he is a husband and a father. During his spare time, his priority is always to spend time with his wife and three sons. 
Architecture is another passion of his, but one of his favorite hobbies is collecting watches. “I have around 200 so far,” he enthused, “but I like to wear all of them. I don’t collect antique watches. I used to collect paintings as well but then I realized that I like to collect things that I can use. It doesn’t mean much to me to buy expensive things and hide them away or put them in the safe.” 
Despite the fact that Saab’s accomplishments are stellar, he is a man who is remarkably humble and has both feet firmly rooted on the ground. With such immense fame and fortune, Saab is able to indulge in almost anything his heart desires anywhere in the world, yet some things never change… his favorite food still remains his mom’s.
Emilio Pucci 2019
Bottega Veneta
Valentino pre fall 19