Self-taught fashion designer Elie Saab’s interest in dressmaking started at age 9, when he began making clothes for his sisters, and as an adolescent he was selling his creations to the women in his neighborhood. In 1982 he opened his couture atelier in Beirut, with a dozen employees; he soon presented his first collection and instantly won critical attention.
His reputation rapidly transcended borders, and high society women the world over desired an Elie Saab dress. In 2002, Halle Berry was wearing one of his gowns when she accepted the Oscar for Best Actress, and Elie Saab became a household name. The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture invited Saab to show in Paris in 2000, and six years later he became a member. In 2007 he set up a flagship in Paris, but Beirut remains the soul of his inspiration, where the company now has a modern five-story building housing the workshops, studios, ready-to-wear boutique, and couture showroom.
The designer magnifies femininity, building his fairy-tale creations with simple designs, the finest materials, delicate hand-embroidery, intricate detail, and a sophisticated fusion of cultural influences. Saab’s specialty is the ultimate dress that highlights a woman’s silhouette, making him a go-to designer for international stars and royalty—including Catherine Zeta-Jones, Beyoncé, Aishwarya Rai, Emmanuelle Béart, Marion Cotillard, Bérénice Bejo, Princess Victoria of Sweden, and Queen Rania of Jordan.