One of the many terribe casualties of the explosion that devastated Beirut last year was Zuhair Murad’s historic atelier: ‘It was almost completely destroyed’, he said . ‘My treasured archieve went up in flames. I lost almost three – quarter of it, 20 years of work’. It was an unimaginable loss. Then the pandemic hit. ‘But here we are, ready to bounce back’, he said, sounding serene.’ Resilience is deeply ingrained in our culture’.
Murad said that working on his couture collection made him feel happy and aliver; it gave him purpose ans strength: ‘I wanted to show it in a physical format as a celebration of renewal and hope’, he said. ‘My clients almost demanded it. They want to enjoy life, go out againt, but new pieces and look beautiful, resuming a sense of luxe fastueux’.
Lavishness and opulence are territories the designer navigates with consummate ease. To inspire his ode to unbashed splendor, Murad looked to Venice, where the stuff isn’t in short supply. The city provided the collection with a layered set of references: Its history and magnificence are deeply intertwined with Middle Eastern aesthetics. Through the centuries it has suffered invasions, destructions, plague, but it has always re – emerged resplendent, its magic intact. This spirit of resurgence was what appealed to Murad, who was also fascinated by the visuals of masked carnival balls.
The collection, presented in Paris to a small audience, was an endless stream of sumptous gowns; Murad clearly revelled in guilty – free, bold glamour, revisiting his best – ofs with delight. Red – Carpet – Ready evening dresses were strewn with intricate embroideries and shimmered with ccrystal fringing in silver and gold. Ballooning taffeta capes were thrown over sinuous embellished numbers dripping in rhinestones, making for an appealing contrast between voluminous shapes and slim silhouettes. A palette of deep black was offset by jewel tones of emerald, ruby, and sapphire, giving the proceedings a lively, eye – catching appeal. ‘Women today crave to be out in the light’, he said. ‘They want to be on stage, they want the light shining on them, like that of chandeliers on a palazzo on the Grand Canal’.