Elie Saab Runway Captivates with Moody Midnight Shadows at Paris Couture Week

 A model presents a creation by Elie Saab during the Haute-Couture Fall/Winter 2024 show as part of the Paris Fashion Week, at le Musee des Arts Decoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts), in Paris, on June 26, 2024. (AFP)
A model presents a creation by Elie Saab during the Haute-Couture Fall/Winter 2024 show as part of the Paris Fashion Week, at le Musee des Arts Decoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts), in Paris, on June 26, 2024. (AFP)
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Elie Saab Runway Captivates with Moody Midnight Shadows at Paris Couture Week

 A model presents a creation by Elie Saab during the Haute-Couture Fall/Winter 2024 show as part of the Paris Fashion Week, at le Musee des Arts Decoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts), in Paris, on June 26, 2024. (AFP)
A model presents a creation by Elie Saab during the Haute-Couture Fall/Winter 2024 show as part of the Paris Fashion Week, at le Musee des Arts Decoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts), in Paris, on June 26, 2024. (AFP)

Elie Saab again transported his VIP guests at Paris' Musee des Arts Decoratifs into a realm of magic and splendor, a world of bridal queens and midnight shadows. And French couturier Julie de Libran took her signature style further with a light and airy display.

Here are some highlights of Wednesday's fall-winter 2024 couture collection.

Elie Saab gleams for men and women

The Lebanese designer’s fall collection came with dramatic flair, strikingly at midnight, enveloping the audience in a welcome dark mood. Models in black leather opera gloves and graphic bands of black satin set the tone.

Men’s couture capes, part of Saab’s theme since fall 2022, were embroidered with sequins and gleaming threads, resembling silver foliage kissed by morning dew. Saab’s opulent men’s couture line continues to add a new dimension to his brand, catering to a market segment that craves visibility.

In the predominantly women's display, organza whooshes swirled upward from the waist in a feat of artistry. As the collection progressed, the color palette softened. Tried-and-tested floor-length silhouettes dazzled in gemstone hues.

A standout piece was a shoulderless gown in powder red, where sequins on the bodice morphed into a sea of feathers cascading down the mermaid-like skirt. The transformation of textures underscored Saab’s craftsmanship.

While Saab’s designs may not always break the mold in innovation or surprise, the commitment to his signature style ensures that his creations remain timeless. His starry clientele appreciates the red carpet-ready classicism.

Ellie Goulding and others applauded from the front row, a testament to Saab’s enduring appeal.

De Libran's nostalgic charm

French couturier Julie de Libran is renowned for intimate shows. She often enlists close friends as models and muses, evoking a nostalgic charm reminiscent of traditional couture presentations.

On Wednesday, de Libran took her signature style further with a light and airy display.

Models held numbered cards, a nod to the way collections were once presented. The vintage touch was complemented by details like a pink feather trim on a limp-waisted gown, which exuded a 1930s flair. The gown’s vivid red injected a contemporary twist.

De Libran’s affinity for vintage-inspired fabrics shone through in a Bordeaux column dress and a coat with large proportions, adorned with gleaming lamé velvet flowers. The pieces exemplified her commitment to high-quality craftsmanship and upcycling. Using exquisite fabrics from Lyonnaise mills, her creations often cannot be replicated, highlighting their artisanal nature.

As a rare independent designer on the couture calendar, de Libran continues to captivate with her blend of nostalgic elegance and modern sophistication.

The art of the invitation

In the Paris luxury industry, the art of the chic invite is vital. Fashion houses vie to create the most inventive and flamboyant show invitations, often delivered by gas-guzzling couriers to each guest’s personal or professional address, with little regard for the environment.

The miniature masterpieces sometimes hint at the forthcoming collection, while at other times they are simply whimsical.

Chanel’s latest invitation, a pair of opera glasses, hinted at the show’s theme inside Paris’ opera house. Staying true to its classic roots, Dior sent out beautifully penned cards by an age-old calligrapher, evoking the maison’s timeless elegance. Schiaparelli’s giant gold key invitation reflected the surrealist legacy of founder Elsa Schiaparelli, promising an avant-garde showcase.



80-year-old LL Bean Staple Finds New Audience as Trendy Bag

Gracie Wiener poses with some of her tote bags in Washington Square Park in New York, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, (AP Photo/Pamela Smith)
Gracie Wiener poses with some of her tote bags in Washington Square Park in New York, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, (AP Photo/Pamela Smith)
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80-year-old LL Bean Staple Finds New Audience as Trendy Bag

Gracie Wiener poses with some of her tote bags in Washington Square Park in New York, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, (AP Photo/Pamela Smith)
Gracie Wiener poses with some of her tote bags in Washington Square Park in New York, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, (AP Photo/Pamela Smith)

L.L. Bean created it 80 years ago to haul heavy blocks of ice. Now it's a must-have summer fashion accessory, The Associated Press reported.

The simple, sturdy canvas bag called the Boat and Tote is having an extended moment 80 years after its introduction, thanks to a social media trend in which they're monogrammed with ironic or flashy phrases.

New Yorker Gracie Wiener helped get it started by ordering her humble bags from L.L. Bean monogrammed with “Psycho” and then “Prada,” the pricey Italian luxury brand, instead of just her name or initials, and posting about them on Instagram. Then others began showcasing their own unique bags on TikTok.

Soon, it wasn’t enough to have a bag monogrammed with “Schlepper,” “HOT MESS,” “slayyyy” or “cool mom.” Customers began testing the limits of the human censors in L.L. Bean’s monogram department, which bans profanity “or other objectionable words or phrases,” with more provocative wording like “Bite me,” “Dum Blonde” and “Ambitchous.”

Social media fueled the surge, just as it did for Stanley’s tumblers and Trader Joe’s $2.99 canvas bags, which were once selling on eBay for $200, said Beth Goldstein, an analyst at Circana, which tracks consumer spending and trends.
The tote’s revival came at a time when price-conscious consumers were forgoing expensive handbags, sales of which have weakened, and L.L. Bean’s bag fit the bill as a functional item that’s trendy precisely because it’s not trendy, she said. L.L. Bean's regular bags top out at about $55, though some fancier versions cost upward of $100.
“There’s a trend toward the utilitarian, the simple things and more accessible price points,” she said, and the customization added to the appeal: “Status items don’t have to be designer price points.”

L.L. Bean’s tote was first advertised in a catalog as Bean’s Ice Carrier in 1944 during World War II, when ice chests were common. Then they disappeared before being reintroduced in 1965 as the Boat and Tote.

These days, they’re still made in Maine and are still capable of hauling 500 pounds of ice, but they are far more likely to carry laptops, headphones, groceries, books, beach gear, travel essentials and other common items.

Those snarky, pop-oriented phrases transformed them into a sassy essential and helped them spread beyond Maine, Massachusetts’ Cape Cod and other New England enclaves to places like Los Angeles and New York City, where fashionistas like Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Jessica Parker are toting them — but not necessarily brandished with ironic phrases.

“It’s just one of those things that makes people smile and makes people laugh, and it’s unexpected,” said Wiener, who got it all started with her @ironicboatandtote Instagram page, which she started as a fun side hustle from her job as social media manager for Air Mail, a digital publication launched by former Vanity Fair Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter.

The folks at L.L. Bean were both stunned and pleased by the continuing growth. For the past two years, the Boat and Tote has been L.L. Bean’s No. 1 contributor to luring in new customers, and sales grew 64% from fiscal years 2021 to 2023, spokesperson Amanda Hannah said.

The surge in popularity is reminiscent of L.L. Bean’s traditional hunting shoe, the iconic staple for trudging through rain and muck, which enjoyed its own moment a few years back, driven by college students.