Once past the throng of fans, guests at Elie Saab’s spring presentation were greeted by a monumental rendering of earth’s pockmarked companion. Even before the show started, ladies dressed to the nines—and not a few men—jockeyed to catch a moon shot for digital posterity.

Backstage, meanwhile, the designer was hovering close by a makeshift studio to approve a few last-minute photos. Although his spring collection was titled Moonlight Shadow and inspired by the women around him (first among them his wife, Claudine), Saab explained that the celestial theme was mostly figurative. Instead of sticking to nighttime, he’s leaning into day. “We’ve had such big success with cotton dresses because they’re so glamorous and fresh you can wear them day and night,” he said. He added that he is aiming to bring his couture mind-set to daylight hours, “but it’s important to keep things light.”

On the runway, the moon theme took the form of polka dots—one of spring’s most salient motifs—in black on white cotton poplin, or in the gridwork of white summer tweed. It also cropped up in petal-like halves on fine macramé dresses with accent colors like sage green and dusty rose spliced with lace. Or as part of a constellation of metallic embellishments showered over a little black minidress. Or a meteor shower of strass on evening looks. Intensive craftsmanship was particularly evident on two dresses—one long, the other short—that seemed to transcribe lunar topography to yellow, pink, and bronze appliqués embroidered on a sheer base.

Elsewhere, Saab opted for strong monochrome statements, sending out safari-inspired ensembles in white or “cosmopolitan pink,” and a “coral spritz” dress in embroidered tulle. Some looks seemed to be offering his usually bejeweled clientele a twofer, with important-looking gems cascading in trompe l’oeil down the front of an otherwise pristine white cape dress. Another savvy move: admirable restraint with logos. Saab’s insignia appeared tonally on his version of English lace or as glittery brooches anchoring fluid, draped evening dresses. But some of the inspirations here were too universal for that (a sunburst of gradient moons comes to mind).

Night or day, there was plenty here to delight a clientele that, in addition to a brand-new shop in Monte Carlo, can look forward to what Saab’s son and CEO, Elie Jr., described as “an important expansion” in the next year or so.

This article was originally published on Vogue Runway.

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