Four forms dominate Elie Saab’s Fall/Winter 2009 collection, and though visually they differ dramatically, they all achieve the same goal of flaunting the feminine figure. Sophisticated, Parisian-style dresses in black, white, and gray, with v-necks and simple capped sleeves hug the body while tapering to a modest height just above the knee. Thick belts of a matching color, and superimposed, body-mimicking shapes of a contrasting color, help these dresses further achieve their figure-flattering goal. Flowing goddess dresses in ocean blues and greens are wrapped at the waste to produce perfect movie-star silhouettes. Sparkly mini dresses are tight at the waste and widen slightly at the hips, producing extreme hourglass figures. Finally, cropped, bolero jackets are matched with high-waisted skinny pants, lending the illusion of extreme length.
Fur, sequins, and bejeweling abound in Saab’s collection, but he implements them with a smartness and sensitivity that make garments glamorous but never over-done with details. Saab takes some bold risks with the collection, most of which pay off—I will never again doubt that gray can be used effectively in evening wear, for example. The styling of the single glove paired with almost every outfit was a bit distracting from the garments themselves, which would have been as remarkable, if not more so, without them. Overall, Saab’s fall/winter 2009 looks were a treatise on beauty, femininity, and form, which even the darkest of economic times cannot overshadow.