Desert belle Zuhair Murad Haute Couture H/V 2019-2020
Diala Aschkar, Art Director at Orient Palms, France

Desert belle

Zuhair Murad Haute Couture F/W 2019-2020

For his Fall-Winter 2019 Haute Couture collection, Zuhair Murad was inspired by a recent trip to Morocco where a whirlwind of elements — traditional carpets motifs, djellabas in markets, turbans, women’s caftans — nurtured his imagination and creativity. The result is a lavish procession of silk, satin or taffeta garments, sumptuously beaded with motifs resembling traditional tribal tattoos, in warm desert tones of gold, brick, orange, amber, amaranth and green. Jewlery-like belts and headbands completed this North African theme.

Floor-sweeping skirts, capes and sleeves elongated the silhouettes and added glamour and theatricality as they trailed behind the models.

One of the originalities of the collection is that Murad infused it with a Saint Laurent seventies’ feel, using ostrich feathers and headbands. Indian elements like the Paisley motif added to the bohemian chic touch. On another note, the feather-trimmed outfits oozed old Hollywood glam.

The show started with a Coachella-mood succession: First, a mini dress with bell sleeves and a plunging neckline with a Persian motif, paired with boots that completed the rock style. Then, a two-piece ensemble featuring a tribal embroidery, and a long one-shoulder black dress with orange and magenta paisley printed details.

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These Magenta and Burgundy short dresses with feather-trimmed sleeves and tribal and geometric styled beading distill a more dressed-up feel.

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Models seemed like tattooed mermaids in these shear figure-hugging, floor-length dresses, embroidered with geometric or Persian motifs.

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Murad excelled in creating different cape designs to accompany the outfits as this full chiffon orange dress with a single crossover strap and asymmetric train, this black dress featuring a key-hole neck, or this sleeveless chiffon, emerald dress featuring lace openings rendering a “nightgown effect”, accompanied by a long cape embellished with feathers and embroidery.

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The following are two different versions of stunning “Burgundy from head to toe” looks, in chiffon or velvet, both having capes, one with a paisley motif beading, and the second as an off-the-shoulders cape.

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One of my favorite looks is this spectacular long taupe chiffon dress embroidered at the bust with geometric motifs with floor length sleeves.

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  • Photo: Clémence Martin for Orient Palms

There were breathtaking golden pieces like this long pleated iridescent chiffon dress or this beige jumpsuit sparkling with sequins and a dramatic plunging neckline.

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The champagne colored jumpsuit with a Lavallière bow and feather-trimmed sleeves is an hommage to Yves Saint Laurent’s 1965 collection, a feminist breakthrough at the time, where the feminine bow echoed men’s ties.

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This orange dress with Arabian geometric motifs and a tribal jewelry-belt, shows vintage glamour channeled by ostrich feathers framing a tight bustier and ornamenting the sleeves.

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Continuing on the Vintage note are these “Old Hollywood” style dresses with seductive feathers placed each time differently to highlight the silhouette.

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The following serie seems to come out of a “One thousand and one nights” tail: a sherwel with a neck scarf — a variation of the Lavallière bow — with a fully embroidered overcoat, and shear black and gold djellabas.

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Worn by the same model, these Emerald and Burgundy sheath with floor-length medieval sleeves dazzle by their embroideries, fitted form and diva-like elongated silhouettes.

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Another one of my favorite looks is this golden embroidered dress with a paisley motif and plunging neckline. The ample short sleeves fitted at the waist borrow from both djellabas and medieval cuts.

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Murad revamped the ball gown silhouette by adding an overskirt to skirts in the same color, Burgundy or black, or a patchwork of various tile motifs. The amplified lower part of the dresses was counterbalanced by tight, skin-baring bustiers: a velvet burgundy cache-coeur, a black velvet bustier with shoulders knots, or an off-the-shoulders black bustier.

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There was a special glamorous modernity in mixing asymmetrical bouffant gazar trailing skirts with traditional carpet motifs and sexy short dresses or bustiers.

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The bride looked heavenly in an ivory gown showered with shimmering crystals displaying a floral carpet pattern. The silk tulle veil framing her figure and covering up her shoulders in a pleated manner created a halo of mystery and sacredness.

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