07/04/2012 09:20 EDT | Updated 09/03/2012 05:12 EDT

Lebanese designer Elie Saab uses Ottoman motifs to create a Imperial couture collection

PARIS - Elie Saab used Ottoman motifs to give his fall-winter 2012-2013 show an imaginative lift.

The move expanded his strict repertoire of va-va voom column dresses and created a strong offering for this year's couture season.

A superb array of embroidered black gowns in tulle, lace and georgette — which opened the show — was the best sequence. Pearls glistened alongside sequins in decorative shapes.

"The black was fantastic, this season he's put in much thought," said stylist Susan Tabak.

The blacks then gave way to a typical Saab palette of champagne, pink and sky blue. And the money-shot came at the end: an embossed organza bridal gown with gold brocade leaves.

Saab's program notes said the patterns had been "lifted from a palace along the banks of the Bosphorus" — and the glimmering decorative effects did endow the show with a certain Imperial element.

Saab — a designer beloved by the red carpet crowd — made no big creative leaps here.

But then again, he doesn't need to.


Thomas Adamson can be followed at