Elie Saab

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Elie Saab
Born (1964-07-04) 4 July 1964 (age 54)
Damour, Lebanon
Residence Geneva, Switzerland
Nationality Lebanese
Label(s) Elie Saab

Elie Saab (Arabic: إيلي صعب) (born 4 July 1964) is a Lebanese fashion designer. His main workshop is in Lebanon, with additional workshops in Milan and Paris.[citation needed] He started his business in the early 1980s and specialized in bridal couture (expensive fabrics, lace, gemstones, Swarovski crystals, pearls, detailed embroidery, etc).[1]

Saab appeared as a judge on Project Runway: Middle East in 2016.[2] As of March 2017, his couture collections are available in Paris, London, and Beirut, while his ready-to-wear clothes were in 160 retailers and his own boutiques.[2]

Early life[edit]

Elie Saab is the eldest son of a wood merchant who raised five children in Damour, a southern coastal Beirut suburb.[citation needed] Born to Maronite Catholic[3] parents in Beirut, Saab began sewing as a child. At the age of eight, his attention had turned to fashion. With his sisters serving as models, he would cut patterns out of newspaper and search his mother's closet for materials.[4]


Early years in fashion[edit]

In 1981, Saab moved to Paris to study fashion. He later dropped out to return to Beirut and open his fashion label. In 1982, when he was 18 years old, he worked with a team of 15 employees. At first his atelier specialized in bridal couture, making wedding dresses and gowns using expensive fabrics, lace, detailed embroidery, pearls, crystals and silk threads.[1] In Beirut his reputation grew from dressing women in his neighborhood, and was soon enhanced by high society women sporting his designs.[5]

In 1997, Saab was the first non-Italian designer to become a member of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion,[6][7] and in 1997 he showed his first collection outside Lebanon in Rome.[citation needed]

In 1998, he started his ready-to-wear line in Milan, as well as an accessories line. Later that year Elie Saab signed a contract with Beauté Prestige International for fragrance and cosmetics. During the same year, Saab held a fashion show in Monaco, with Princess Stéphanie of Monaco in attendance.[citation needed]

In 1999, one of his dresses thickly embroidered with emeralds and diamonds was reportedly sold for $2.4 million.[8]

Exposure internationally[edit]

Magdalena Frackowiak in Elie Saab at Paris Fashion Week F/W 2011

Saab became more well-known in the United States after he became the first Lebanese designer to dress an Oscar winner, Halle Berry, in 2002.[9] In May 2003, the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture invited him to become a member,[6] and he showed his first haute couture collection in Paris in July 2003.[citation needed]

In 2003, he teamed up with Pronovias to create a bridal line, Elie by Elie Saab.[10]

The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture inducted him as a membre correspondent in 2006.[2] His first ready-to-wear collection in Paris was the Spring-Summer 2006 collection.[citation needed]

Saab, Tina Knowles, House of Deréon, Giorgio Armani, Versace, and Herve Leger served as the designers for the outfits of the 2007 The Beyoncé Experience tour.[11] In 2010, Saab dressed 102 celebrities for events overall, up from 40 in 2009. The figure for 2011, up until March, was 88.[12] In 2011, Madame Tussauds unveiled a wax statue of Kate Winslet draped in the Elie Saab dress she wore at 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards.[13] In 2011, Elie Saab launched his first fragrance Le Parfum.[citation needed]

Recent dresses and collaborations[edit]

In 2012, he worked with the Lebanese American University and London College of Fashion to launch a bachelor’s degree in fashion design.[2] As of 2013, the brand had boutiques located in Beirut, Dubai, Doha, Paris, London, Geneva, Hong Kong, Moscow, New York City, and Mexico, with 100 retail outlets total.[14] Saab's son, Elie Saab Jr, became brand director in 2013.[2]

Saab appeared as a judge on Project Runway: Middle East in 2016.[2] Between 2015 and 2017, the Elie Saab company opened a second Paris boutique and a new location in London's Mayfair, and in Manhattan.[2] The Manhattan store that opened in October 2016 was his first in the country.[15] As of March 2017, his couture collections are available in Paris, London, and Beirut, while his ready-to-wear clothes were in 160 retailers and his own boutiques.[2] Also that month, the Elie Saab company opened a new Madison Avenue store.[16]

Notable clients and projects[edit]

Stéphanie, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, wearing an Elie Saab bridal gown in 2012.

He has been worn by Queen Rania of Jordan,[17] Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden,[18] and Stéphanie, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.[17] In 1999, Queen Rania of Jordan wore Elie Saab for her enthronement.[8] Countess Stéphanie and the Hereditary Grand Duke married in a civil ceremony married in 2012,[19] where the bride wore a dress designed by Elie Saab.[20]

Many attendees at the 64th Golden Globe Awards in 2007 chose beaded or metallic dresses, such as Beyoncé's sequinned gold Elie Saab gown.[21]

Halle Berry wore a burgundy gown by Saab to the 2002 Academy Awards when she won for Best Actress.[22] In a poll by Debenhams published in The Daily Telegraph the dress was voted the 8th greatest red carpet gown of all time.[23] Cosmopolitan magazine cited the dress as one of the Best Oscar dresses of all time.[24] Berry later wore another dress by Saab to the 2003 Oscars.[25]

Other notable clients of Saab's work have included Eva Green, Yulia Alipova, Nicki Minaj,[citation needed] Beyoncé,[17] Aishwarya Rai,[26] Anna Kendrick,[27] Christina Aguilera,[28] Catherine Zeta-Jones,[17] Angelina Jolie,[29] Celine Dion,[30] Elena Anaya,[26] Elsa Zylberstein,[26] and Taylor Swift.[31]


Elie Saab's style is a unique fusion of western and eastern culture.[32] He uses noble materials such as taffeta, organza, and satin paired with more fluid and light fabrics.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Saab and his wife Claudine live with their family in Lebanon, and together have three sons.[15] The family also have property in Geneva and France.[citation needed]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Elie Saab Archived April 22, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Fernandez, Chantal (March 14, 2017), "Elie Saab Sets a New Course in New York", Business of Fashion, retrieved April 4, 2017
  3. ^ Ulrik Putz, Libanons Designer Elie Saab: Mission Mode Archived October 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., Spiegel. (German). 2007. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
  4. ^ MacFarquhar, N (27 April 2002). "An unlikely couturier from an unlikely 'Paris'". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
  5. ^ "Elie Saab". Vogue. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Elie Saab is One of the 500 People Shaping the Global Fashion Industry in 2017". The Business of Fashion. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  7. ^ "Elie Saab News, Collections, Fashion Shows, Fashion Week Reviews, and More - Vogue". Vogue. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  8. ^ a b "Saab Story". Vanity Fair. October 8, 2011.
  9. ^ Halle Berry - Memorable Oscar Dresses Archived August 1, 2016, at the Wayback Machine., About.com. Retrieved on March 23, 2009.
  10. ^ English, Vogue. "Elie Saab". Vogue English. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  11. ^ Knowles, Beyoncé (2007). Official The Beyoncé Experience World Tour Program. USA: Columbia Records.
  12. ^ How elie saab has made the red carpet his catwalk. (January 21, 2012). The National. Retrieved February 24, 2013.[dead link]
  13. ^ "Kate Winslet wax figure on display". Belfast Telegraph. November 9, 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  14. ^ "Elie Saab". Retrieved February 24, 2013.
  15. ^ a b Menkes, Suzy (July 15, 2016), "Elie Saab: Secrets Of The Lebanon", Vogue
  16. ^ Phelps, Nicole (March 15, 2017), "Elie Saab, Couturier to the Stars, Comes Down to Earth With a New Madison Avenue Flagship", Vogue, retrieved April 4, 2017
  17. ^ a b c d "Fashion TV - Top Designer - Elie Saab". Fashion TV. Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved March 23, 2009.
  18. ^ (June 21, 2010), A Royal Affair: Princess Victoria's Wedding Style Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. People. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  19. ^ Noblesse et Royautés Archived 2012-05-11 at the Wayback Machine., "Mariage princier au Luxembourg: 20 October 2012"
  20. ^ "The maids of honour, bridesmaids and pageboys" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-02-01.
  21. ^ Nellis, Cynthia. "Golden Globes Fashion 2007". About.com. Archived from the original on 26 May 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  22. ^ - It's the dress for success - Elie Saab goes from obscurity to fashion's front row Alev Aktar, New York Daily News March 28, 2002
  23. ^ Urmee Khan (9 October 2008). "Liz Hurley 'safety pin' dress voted the greatest dress". The Telegraph. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  24. ^ "Oscars Best and Worst Dressed". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  25. ^ Lee, Esther (February 11, 2011). "The Beautiful World of Elie Saab". The 949 Style Guide. Archived from the original on May 13, 2012.
  26. ^ a b c "Couture dresses at Cannes 2011". Haute Couture News. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
  27. ^ Critchell, Samantha. "Bullock wears `Oscar' gown, other stars take risks". Associated Press. Archived from the original on March 11, 2010. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
  28. ^ Christina Aguilera in an Elie Saab dress at American Music Awards Archived December 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., Glamour Magazine. Retrieved March 23, 2009.
  29. ^ Angelina Jolie In Elie Saab Black Dress Oscars 2009, Stylefrizz.com. Retrieved on March 23, 2009.
  30. ^ Couture dresses at Oscar 2011 Archived May 29, 2016, at the Wayback Machine., Haute Couture News Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  31. ^ "Grammys 2015: Taylor Swift in Elie Saab". Tom + Lorenzo. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  32. ^ "French Chamber Gala Dineer 2012" (PDF). FCCIHK. Retrieved February 24, 2013.[dead link]

External links[edit]