PARIS: As girlish as ever, Georges Hobeika’s couture collection for this summer paid a literal tribute to the flora and fauna of his imagined summertime forest and offered another season of highly wearable couture in pastels.
Hobeika, a Paris-based Lebanese designer, presented his collection as part of Haute Couture Fashion Week in the French capital Monday. The designer is known for his flattering, high-waisted dresses, his restrained but whimsical embellishments like oversized beading or ruffles and always summer – sometimes even winter – pastels. That recipe makes for ethereal summer collections and this one was no exception.
The designer created Summer-Spring ’14 from a fantasy forest theme, and that inspiration came through literally in a number of ornately embellished dresses in powder pink, lemon yellow, peach and pistachio. One pistachio-colored minidress, for example, had green and gold foliage covering the chiffon top layer in tendrils that almost read Arabesque. Another minidress was so covered in floral embroidery it looked like a painted pattern from afar.
Hobeika’s knack for eccentric embellishment took on new forms this season with loose, laser-cut pieces that fluttered down the runway.
A peaches-and-cream-colored strapless dress was made from hundreds of cut silk pieces that gave the illusion of feathers, and added an elegant bird to the designer’s imagined summertime forest. The same technique was used on the skirt of a yellow dress, and one of Hobeika’s more abstract creations was a full pink skirt covered in cut silk circles.
For the third season in a row, Hobeika included what is becoming his signature floral embellishment in the shape of a many-petaled black-eyed Susan. In winter they were discrete sequins that gave his creations a bit of sparkle, the summer before that – as in this collection – they were paired small silk circles, giving the dresses a playfulness.
This collection was also a return to Hobeika’s architectural tendencies. He contrasted a cropped, structured top with the fluidity of a ballerina skirt. And a common element in his bodices was a narrow, plunging neckline with a geometric decorative edge.
He also made use of full-length capes, sewn into the back of the dresses. Fashion shows have seen recently a rise of such designs where the cape is part and parcel of the gown. Hobeika gave his caped creation a scooped back line to reveal some skin in otherwise modest cuts.