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SATURDAY, 19 APR 2014
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Rising couturiers show on thesidelines of Paris fashion week
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PARIS/BEIRUT: Lebanese couturiers pushing for a place among the big leagues of haute couture flock to Paris each fashion season to show off their wares on the periphery of the main events.

Lebanese designer Charlotte Licha showed off an eclectic spring-summer couture collection in vivid tangerines, silvers, daisy yellows, black and pale blues. The title and inspiration was an enigmatic “Point,” which meant to represent the idea that humans are all small points in a larger system.

Dressing in one of her creations, however, would make it difficult to blend in. Her wedding dress offered a good example of her off-beat creativity. The bride wore a sparkling metal helmet headpiece reminiscent of a science fiction movie. A cape in sheer ivory trailed behind the gown in place of a veil.

Themes of ethereal nature and femininity pervade shows during haute couture week. Licha took the route less traveled with a heady, philosophic theme, and her deviation showed through in a more conceptual collection.

For example, Licha incorporated pieces of menswear into her elegant gowns, such as a stiff white collar attached to otherwise delicate, feminine creations. She also deviated from classic gown constructions with a subtle nod to Indian dress in a yellow gown with a long vest built over it and cinched at the waist.

Tony Yaacoub waxed a bit patriotic in his collection, entitled “The Spirit of Berytus” – Berytus being the Greek word for Beirut.

The abbreviated collection included just 14 looks, entirely in light blue, perhaps an ode to city’s seaside and the endlessly blue skies during summertime – or more likely an allusion to the melancholy of the city’s inhabitants. Even the wedding dress had a light blue tint and its full-bodied skirt had flower blossoms made from crystal petals.

And if birds are symbols of peace then Yaacoub’s experiments with feathers made sense in the context of his Beirut theme.

Yaacoub covered a long-sleeve column dress in flares of feathery strings; feathers wrapped the neckline of a one-shouldered and caped gown; and plumage grew from the waist of a tight, strapless dress.

Yaacoub also dabbled in accessories this season. He chose a punchy contrast of orange snake skin pumps with his pale, ethereal blue collection.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 28, 2014, on page 2.
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Story Summary
Lebanese couturiers pushing for a place among the big leagues of haute couture flock to Paris each fashion season to show off their wares on the periphery of the main events.

Lebanese designer Charlotte Licha showed off an eclectic spring-summer couture collection in vivid tangerines, silvers, daisy yellows, black and pale blues.

Tony Yaacoub waxed a bit patriotic in his collection, entitled "The Spirit of Berytus" – Berytus being the Greek word for Beirut.

Yaacoub covered a long-sleeve column dress in flares of feathery strings; feathers wrapped the neckline of a one-shouldered and caped gown; and plumage grew from the waist of a tight, strapless dress.

Yaacoub also dabbled in accessories this season.
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