What would Kurt Cobain say if he witnessed Come As You Are used as the soundtrack to an ostentatious haute couture show meant for the one percent? Unfortunately, we will never know. The contrast between Nirvana’s dirty guitars and Elie Saab’s ultra-polished collection of princess dresses was so extreme that it could leave room for an ironic, humorous interpretation. But then again, no. The girls believed every moment of it as they strutted down the catwalk the minute the show started (50 minutes late, celebrity front row pictures obligent).
In the words of the Lebanese designer, the collection was devoted to ‘grandeur, opulence and the beauty of women,’ and inspired by the glistening, golden palaces of Byzantium. Gold was indeed the key word in the show: one by one, intricately embroidered and sequinned dresses paraded in every possible shade. Champagne gold. Rose gold. Antique gold. White gold. There was an ease and a sense of innocence to some of the pieces that went well with the models’ natural hair and with the lovely diadems they all wore, but it didn’t hide the over-the-top luxury of most dresses… Nor a general feeling of having seen it all before. Mink details on the shoulders of some of the pieces, alongside a black trouser-cum-sleeveless coat ensemble with a delightful sixties arabesque touch, were more new and left us wanting more. Instead, we got a model stiffly walking in a grandiose wedding gown, the traditional finale to the house’s show. Not a very groundbreaking one, despite the grunge music.