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5 Highlights From the Paris Haute Couture Week Shows

Powered by Middle Eastern designers

Paris Haute Couture Week, the pinnacle of sartorial elegance and unbridled creativity, unfurled its glamorous tapestry from July 2 to July 6, leaving fashion enthusiasts awestruck and craving for more. Amidst the opulent ambiance of the City of Lights, the fashion world converged to witness an extravaganza of exquisite craftsmanship and boundary-pushing designs. From daring silhouettes that defied conventions to ethereal masterpieces that whispered tales of fantasy, this week proved to be a captivating whirlwind of style. Below, five highlights from Paris Haute Couture Week, powered by Middle Eastern designers.

 

Ashi Studio

Last month, Ashi Studio was made a guest member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, making the Saudi maison one of the handful fashion houses that are officially on the haute couture calendar. Designer Mohammed Ashi became the first designer from the Gulf to show during Paris Haute Couture Week, and made his debut as an official guest member on July 6 at Paris’s Theatre du Chatalet. Titled “The Essence,” a nod to Patrick Süskind’s novel, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, the 21-looks that made up the fall 2023 couture offering were indeed killer. Dramatic silhouettes, floor-trailing trains, and structural shapes permeated the collection, reminding us that if anyone deserves to be granted Haute Couture status, it’s Ashi.

 

Georges Hobeika

Georges Hobeika

 

“This collection was imagined to celebrate hope and optimism. We have chosen soft colors and fluid silhouettes that evoke joy, gentleness, and freedom,” explain creative directors Georges and Jad Hobeika of their label’s fall 2023 couture collection. Dramatic and glamorous creations made out of only the most luxurious materials such as georgette and organza, came out one-by-one, making guests collectively pull out their phones with each look that swept down the runway. The dazzling collection of red carpet-worthy gowns, ravishing jackets, and embroidered headpieces culminated into a teal, Cinderella ball gown modeled by Chinese actress Fan Bing Bing, who closed the show.

 

Rami Al-Ali

rami al ali couture week paris

 

Leave it to Rami Al-Ali to make cut-outs feel fresh and interesting again. This week, the Lebanese designer offered a unique and thought-provoking take on the tired trend that has been taking over womenswear by drawing inspiration from French visual artist Henri Matisse’s “Carving Into Color” work, a series of colorful collages made out of cut paper, for his fall 2023 couture collection showcased on July 4. Paris’s Palais de Tokyo. The stunning venue, which houses works by Matisse, felt just right as the backdrop for the beaded gowns, dramatic trains, and feather-embellished creations that made up the striking 30-piece offering. A teal dress with a sweetheart neckline and pink lace cut-outs was a beautiful nod to Matisse’s playful cutting techniques.

 

ArdAzAei

ArdAzAei

Iranian designer Bahareh Ardakani presented her sophomore collection, “A Diffraction of Light,” on July 4, drawing on her studies in gemology to bring the brand’s fall 2023 couture collection come to life. Exploring the optics of light through the medium of couture, the 24-piece collection was made up of strapless gowns embellished with an oversized bow, sparkling form-fitting catsuits with a high neck, and expertly-cut jacquard suits. The closing gown, a metallic, semi-sheer lurex creation, was the result of a months-long collaboration between ArdAzAei, the world-renowned folding artist Joan Sallas, and the Paris-based pleating specialists Les Ateliers Lognon.

 

Elie Saab

elie saab couture week

The Lebanese designer’s fall 2023 couture collection drew inspiration from period movies set in the Middle Ages— think Cate Blanchet in Elizabeth, Sophie Marceau in Braveheart, Kiera Knightly in The Duchess, and Marion Cotillard in Macbeth. Models paraded down the arched corridor of the Musee des Arts Decoratifs on July 5 looking as though they just teleported from the late 15th century wearing gowns with see-through veils made of crystalized crepe attached to the arms and worn over the head, garments infused with Middle Ages motifs like Tudor roses, and beautifully embroidered velvet capes that are fit for Medieval royalty.

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