Born in 1964 in Damour, Lebanon, Elie Saab is a self-taught fashion talent. His interest in dressmaking started at the young age of nine, when he started designing dresses for his sisters. Soon, he was selling his designs to the women in his neighborhood, still just a teenager.
In 1982, he opened his first Couture atelier in Beirut, managing over a dozen employees, having already mastered the art of dressmaking and its know-how. The same year, he presented his first show at the Casino du Liban. The young women in the audience were immediately won over, and his reputation for designing extremely feminine and elegant dresses was established. Word spread internationally of this talented young designer, and his client base grew to include members of high society.
1986: Elie Saab met his future wife Claudine. They were married four years later and have three children: Elie Jr., Selim and Michel.
1996: Elie Saab continued to develop his fashion standing internationally, by beginning to dress celebrities for red carpet events.
1997: Elie Saab was invited to take part in the prestigious Camera Nazionale della Moda. As the only non-Italian designer, it was a true privilege. He continued to show Couture collections in Rome for three consecutive years.
1998: Elie Saab presented his first ready-to-wear collection, at Milan Fashion week. The collection was very well received and was bought by luxury multi-brand stores around the world, notably in Paris, London, Madrid, Moscow, Los Angeles and Hong Kong.
1999: HRH Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan chose to be dressed in ELIE SAAB Haute Couture for her Coronation ceremony.
2000: Elie Saab presented his first Haute Couture collection in Paris before being invited as a Membre Invité by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in 2002. Every year thereafter he continued to present two Couture collections a year in Paris.
In March 2002, Elie Saab was again the Couturier of choice when Halle Berry wore one of his Haute Couture designs to receive the Oscar for Best Actress – the first African American actress to have done so - for her performance in Monster’s Ball. The same year, Elie Saab opened his first Couture salon in Paris’s prestigious eighth arrondissement, responding to a strong demand from his cosmopolitan and international clientele.
In September 2003, the President of the Lebanese Republic awarded Elie Saab the title of Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Cèdre, as a tribute to his work and creative contributions.
A few years later in Lebanon, in 2005, ELIE SAAB opened a modern five-storey building in downtown Beirut, showcasing the brand’s different collections. In October of the same year, Elie Saab presented his ready-to-wear collection in Paris for the first time, simultaneously launching his first accessories collection.
In November 2006, Elie Saab was integrated into the Chambre Syndicale’s official Haute Couture calendar, as Membre Correspondant.
In April 2007, the Couturier confirmed he would make Paris his second home, by opening an Haute Couture salon and a flagship store, the two covering a floor space of 1000 m², at 1 rond-point des Champs-Elysées and 43 avenue Franklin Roosevelt, respectively.
In July 2008, ELIE SAAB continued to expand his business internationally by opening his first boutique in the UK, in London. It is situated on the first floor of the prestigious department store Harrods. Another boutique opening followed in Dubai, in June 2010, located on the first floor of the luxury circle in the Dubai Mall. In 2016, ELIE SAAB announced the opening of its second boutique in Dubai, at the Mall of the Emirates. In 2018, the store of Dubai Mall has been relocated to new Fashion Avenue Extension.
2009: ELIE SAAB signed a fragrance and cosmetics license with Beauté Prestige International, the core fragrance subsidiary of the Shiseido group. July 2011 saw the launch of the first ELIE SAAB fragrance, entitled Elie Saab Le Parfum. Photographed by Mert & Marcus, the ad campaign featured Anja Rubik in a gown specially designed by Elie Saab. The launch of the Eau de Toilette followed in 2012, and that of the Eau de Parfum Intense in 2013, the Eau Couture in 2014 and the Eau Resort in 2015. In 2014, La collection des Essences, composed of 4 exceptional fragrances is designed and crafted with the same level of excellence and perfection as Haute Couture Creations, followed in 2015 by two additional essences.
The launch of Rose Couture followed in 2016. This new perfume echoes the infinite shades of blush raising an iconic floral straight to the luminous heart of couture.
2011: ELIE SAAB launched its first precollection, including ready-to-wear and accessories.
In February 2012, ELIE SAAB opened its first boutique in Asia, in Hong Kong’s esteemed Landmark Mall, located in the Central District. A few months later, ELIE SAAB continued its retail expansion into the Americas: a shop-in-shop at Saks Fifth Avenue, in Mexico City. In December 2013, continuing its expansion in Asia, ELIE SAAB opened its second store in Hong Kong. The new boutique is located on the 2nd floor of the prestigious Lee Gardens One Mail in Cause Bay’s shopping district.
In October 2012, Countess Stephanie de Lannoy married the Crown Prince of Luxembourg, HRH Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg, wearing an ELIE SAAB Haute Couture bridal gown. The designer also created the dress worn for the official celebrations on the eve of the ceremony, and dressed many of the royals attending the wedding.
At the end of 2012, ELIE SAAB relocated its Parisian headquarters to a multi-storey hotel particulier on avenue Raymond Poincaré, in the 16th arrondissement. The building’s 18th Century decor is in keeping with typical Parisian architecture, featuring original mouldings, parquet flooring, sweeping marble staircases and antique mirrors and chandeliers. Sparingly juxtaposed with modern, minimalist furniture, the offices reflect the elegant and luxurious heritage of Elie Saab’s designs, and the contemporary clean lines of his silhouettes, which are recognized as the ELIE SAAB signature. For the Autumn-Winter 2014/15, ELIE SAAB introduced the Poincaré handbag collection, created in the design studio of Paris’ Headquarters.
In 2012, ELIE SAAB partnered with the Lebanese American university of Beirut and London college of Fashion to launch a four years Bachelor’s degree program in fashion design and related studies. The first class will graduate in 2017. Each major of class is granted with a six month internship among Mr. Saab studio.
In November 2013, ELIE SAAB collaborated with evian®, to create a limited edition glass bottle that is a joint celebration of both brands’ pursuit of purity in design. The two brands united with the common theme of purity. The bottle was decorated with a signature ELIE
SAAB lace pattern, that recalled the feminine and elegant designs featured so prominently in the brand’s collections. The final creation symbolized the immaculate craftsmanship, and the mutual sophistication that both ELIE SAAB and evian® are renowned for. It’s the most successful collaboration between a Fashion brand and evian®.
At the end of 2013, the esteemed publishing house Assouline published two books (a small format in “les Mémoires de la mode” collection and a largest one) on Elie Saab and the history of the brand, written by renowned French fashion journalist Janie Samet. The large format tome which is filled with beautiful imagery from the Haute Couture House’s archives included original photography by the revered Laziz Hamani. Each chapter covers a different stage in the brand’s evolution, revealing the secrets behind the designer’s master craftsmanship and providing a rare glimpse into the exclusive world of dressing the world’s most glamorous and elegant clientele.
In March 2014, ELIE SAAB launched its online magazine “The Light of Now”, the latest development in its digital profile. The project has been conceived with the aim of providing broader and more in-depth content online. The monthly e-mag features original editorial content at the intersection of contemporary culture and the ELIE SAAB universe, it explores light as a source of inspiration across a variety of disciplines, including: design, art, music, perfume and, naturally, fashion. Each Cannes Film Festival, he online magazine becomes “The Light of Cannes”, a daily animated and news fed, providing exclusive and live content.
In July 2015, ELIE SAAB opens second Paris boutique with a new interior design concept, located 31 Avenue George V. Created by the agency RDAI, the boutique marks the beginning of a new era for the ELIE SAAB House: it inaugurates a generation of shops that project the brand’s universe in an architectural space. Extending from the Four Seasons Hotel George V, the 240 square-meter (2,583 sq.ft.) space is situated on the ground floor behind eight bay windows outlined in original elegant wrought iron.
A new handbag line is introduced for the Spring Summer 2016, named “le 31”, it is rectilinear and sharp in polished box-calf, with a faceted square clasp closing.
In August 2015, ELIE SAAB opened its first corner in Russia, in the department store Tsum, located in Moscow.
In September 2015, ELIE SAAB signed a nine year licensing agreement with Safilo.
The first collection will be available worldwide starting from January 2017 in a selected network of exclusive eyewear specialists and in ELIE SAAB boutiques worldwide. In September 2018, eyewear line was extended into optical.
In November 2015, ELIE SAAB opened its shop-in-shop in the department store Le Printemps Haussmann in Paris.
In April 2016, ELIE SAAB launched its bridal line: ELIE SAAB Bridal. The contemporary and modern interpretation of bridal wear follows the style evolution of its ready-to-wear collections over the last few seasons. Faithful to its core design codes, the House presented the essentials of a feminine and daring silhouette in this bridal collection.
In April 2016, ELIE SAAB partnered with MBC Group, the largest and leading private media company in the Middle East & North Africa with a 65M viewership, to produce “Project Runway Middle East”, the hit global fashion TV programme, within an Arabic adaption combining entertainment and education. Joining as the head of the judging Panel, Elie Saab’s objective is to take part in transforming talents into tomorrow’s designers by opening new perspectives and helping shape the future of Fashion in the Arab Wold.
In August 2016, ELIE SAAB opened its first London flagship, located in the heart of Mayfair on 24 Bruton Street. The four-storey building houses the full universe of the brand’s creations and services: ready-to-wear, accessories, bridal, fragrances and an Haute Couture salon to ensure a unique and exclusive experience. The brand continued its collaboration with the RDAI architectural firm for this new flagship, in line with the desire to develop its engagement with the architectural arts. The London structure juxtaposes 18th century grandeur with elements of contemporary interior design for a modern and singular ensemble.
The opening of this flagship reinforces the growing presence of the brand in London, which is already present at Harrods with its boutique located within the designated “Superbrands” space since February 2016.
In March 2017, ELIE SAAB opened its first US flagship in New York City on 860 Madison Avenue.
In 2018, a National Lebanese Postage Stamp honoring Mr. Elie Saab was unveiled, featuring his portrait and is intended to pay tribute to his international accomplishments and his continuous commitment to celebrate Lebanon’s talent and name worldwide.
In March 2019, ELIE SAAB partnered with Emaar, the global developer, to design haute interiors for a landmark property in Emaar Beachfront Dubai.
In 2019, ELIE SAAB signed a long term license contract with Corporate Brand Maison S.A to expand the business into luxury furniture line for Home and Hospitality Projects.
In January 2020, ELIE SAAB announced the introduction of its latest addition to the brand’s offering: ELIE SAAB JUNIOR. The Maison has signed two long term licensing partnerships with Simonetta, one of the leading Italian children’s wear companies and with Andrea Montelpare, the market leader in the luxury segment of children's shoes.