In recent collections, Zuhair Murad has riffed on imperial Russia, Native American culture and sea life, but on Wednesday he looked to Egypt centuries ago.
With the magnificent setting of the former 19th century palace Hotel Potocki in Paris as the backdrop for his eponymous womenswear label’s latest couture offering for Spring 2020, the Lebanese designer showed off a glamorous homage to Ancient Egypt.
As the Ras Baalbek-born couturier knows well, the North African nation has intrigued fashion designers for centuries, most notably in the years immediately following Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922, which was filled with the treasures that were intended to guide the monarch to the afterlife.
Murad referenced those with some Deco Egyptian detailing, sending out a dazzling gold number that was bejeweled with hundreds of tiny red, blue and purple sequins and beads that took the shape of various hieroglyphics, tomb paintings, scarabs and eagles to kick off the collection.
The offering was also rife with second-skin gowns in rich fabrics like duchesse satin and chiffon, sequin-encrusted jumpsuits, belted minidresses with dramatic padded shoulders, crystal embellished jackets, sequined silk tulle numbers with slit sides and billowy, sheer chiffon trains and shimmery skirts paired with equally shimmery crop tops.
There were almost as many sequins in the front row as there were on the runway — an indication that the designer’s latest offering is sure to delight his loyal clientele of A-listers and royals. A white embellished evening gown with a criss-cross bodice and thigh-high slits on either side practically screamed, “wear me now, Jennifer Lopez.”
Added to the harmonious color palette of gold and ivory were coral, crimson and scarab blue.
Even the bride was an Egyptian queen. Wearing a bejeweled headdress, the model emerged on the catwalk wearing a heavily-embellished, haute couture take on the kalasiris, evoking a modern day Cleopatra. The crystal-emblazoned wedding dress featured a floor-trailing train, dramatic attached cape and a glimmering collar that imitated Ancient Egyptian necklaces.