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Elie Saab adds men to haute couture

The designer's showcase at Paris fashion week included capes, beads and feathers

A model presents a creation by designer Elie Saab as part of his Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2022-2023 collection show in Paris, on 6 July. (REUTERS)

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Men swept down Elie Saab's haute couture runway on Wednesday in voluminous capes teeming with feathers and glittering beadwork, adding extra flash and new energy to the Lebanese designer's lineup of signature, red carpet-ready dresses for women.

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"People who come to us for this type of style, they want to be spectacular — it's the same for men and women," Saab said in an interview after the show, as guests swarmed around to greet him.

"We have a lot of demand from clients, but this is the first time we've shown it on the runway."

The designer strutted out his men's looks fast on the heels of the wide-skirted dress that opened the show. The first male model entered in a sweeping cape adorned with long red and black feathers that curled up at the ends, arranged in a stark zig-zag pattern.

Other male models followed with embellished coats and capes thrown over black or gold suits, sprinkled into the collection of the label's distinct, feminine styles.

For women, there were sheer, fitted dresses dripping with lace and glittering beadwork while long, floor-sweeping ballgowns had puffs of ostrich feathers augmenting the shoulders. Embellishments ran down to the fingertips, applied to sheer, skin-colored gloves.

One particularly striking men's coat had a stylized python pattern, delineated in beadwork, both grand and reptilian.

Known for intricate craftsmanship, haute couture houses are increasingly catering to men.

In a high profile example, Balenciaga designer Demna Gvasalia introduced made-to-measure pieces for men and women last year when he resumed the Kering-owned label's couture line for the first time in over half a century.  

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