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Spring Summer 2016 Full Show Paris

“I think working in fashion was more my destiny than anything else,” explains Elie Saab, the Lebanese designer who, by the tender age of 9, was making clothes for his family from materials he found around the house. Apart from a single year spent at a fashion school in Paris, Saab is self-taught—and focused. In 1982, just 18, he made his debut in war-torn Beirut. “There had never been such a presentation in Lebanon,” he later recalled. “Models didn’t exist. I found girls who worked in advertising and students. I suspect most, like me, had never even been to a fashion show.”

Saab got his start designing elaborate bridal gowns, and he has grown his business slowly, steadily, and internationally with dazzling getups that pair the luxury of Eastern embellishment with Western silhouettes. “I like feminine elegance, not extravagance,” Saab has said. “I try to give good taste.” In 1997 he was invited to show in Rome by the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana; three years later the elite Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture asked him to present in Paris, naming him a membre correspon­dant in 2006. (Saab is the first Arab to be admitted into the organization.)

“The code of my collections will always remain the same,” the glamour-focused Saab has stated, and his clients, A-listers and otherwise, wouldn’t want that to change. Queen Rania of Jordan chose an Elie Saab design for her husband’s 1999 coronation; and in 2002 Oscar winner Halle Berry wore Saab’s flirtatious flower-embroidered burgundy dress to the awards ceremony, making Saab a diva’s go-to red carpet designer overnight. “She wore it out of love, not because a stylist told her to wear it. That is the force behind wearing my designs,” Saab told The Telegraph. “Everything comes from the heart.”