By JESSICA MICHAULT
PARIS — The Lebanese designer Elie Saab turned to the dark side for his autumn/winter show and going bad has never looked so good for the designer. His femme fatales in form-fitting daywear looked deadly desirable in all-black ensembles.
Mr. Saab came up with a number of interesting techniques to show off his workers’ craftsmanship. The first group of black lace dresses covered in micro pleats that created a tree bark effect was particularly intriguing.
Once again, his choice of print — this season it was veins of black on a charcoal background — was a hit, creating a malevolent tension when constructed of black lace and strips of patent leather. Bondage fashion? Why not, when it looks like this?
Even the more elaborate bead-covered evening-wear with geometric cutouts, shown in venom green, poison purple and midnight blue, looked fresh from a designer so tightly linked to safe red-carpet gowns.
If only he had stopped there, this would have been one of the designer’s strongest shows in a number of seasons. Remember the golden rule: quality not quantity.
The Commuun show used Africa as its starting point. With such a strong theme, there is always a risk that the inspiration will overpower the collection but that was not the case here as Kaito Hori and Iku Furudate referenced the continent with a feather-light touch.
Shown solely on black models, their brows aglow with gold dust as if reflecting a hot desert sun, the clothing was cut in a sporty, relaxed style. Easy tops were paired with wide leg pants crafted from two textiles that came together at the side seams. Alternatively, silver stretch legging balanced out rounded coats or a long suit jacket and silver gloves.
The Africa element, besides the oversized jewelry, came in the form of a sporty dove gray jacquard suit that hinted at an animal pattern and a few graphic black and white print pieces that recalled tribal markings.
It also was satisfying to see some beautiful eveningwear during a season so focused on daywear. The dresses were crafted from a number of billowing pieces of different colored silks. Designed to tucked loosely into gathers along a curving neckline, the fabric floated about the body as if catching a fleeting arid breeze. The collection was a poetic and modern vision of dressing with a tribal undertone.