It may well be summer in Paris, but on Wednesday evening, Zuhair Murad brought all the shimmering beauty of an icy Russian winter to the French capital. The Lebanese designer presented his Fall 2018 haute couture collection at Hôtel Potocki during Paris Couture Week, assembling a star-studded cast of models including Alessandra Ambrosio and Georgia Fowler to showcase the exquisitely ornate pieces. The Ras Baalbek-born couturier took inspiration from Imperial Russia for the collection, reimagining the historical period’s rich brocades and magnificent embroideries in sheer chiffons, bead-encrusted gowns, and sequined sheaths.
Indeed, Murad was particularly influenced by the decadent balls held by tzars of centuries past, and echoed that sentiment in velvet robes, and structured, strapless gowns, each lavish and laced with grandeur, but still infused with an ethereality, and lightness of being. The designer, who cited Elisabeth of Russia and Anna Karenina as references, still maintained a contemporary air with thigh-high splits, dramatic jumpsuits with sweeping trains, and scarlet, gilded shorts suits. Minimal was certainly not the aim of the game, with each high-octane piece dripping with metallic threading, glimmering gems, or sequin adornments. There was a sense of duality, with sharp silhouettes softened in tulle, and military-influenced jackets punctuated with beading.
The palette ranged from vintage champagnes to bold sapphires, with washed-out golden hues used across adornments, lending an air of nostalgia to the overall glamour. The customary bridal look, which closed out the show, followed the collection’s theme; a sweetheart, strapless gown elevated with floral motifs, finished with a theatrical cape and architectural, pearl-dotted headpiece. There is no doubt that we’ll be seeing the majority of Murad’s Fall 2018 couture line trotted out on red carpets to come. Scroll through the gallery below to see all the backstage action, which encapsulates the electric atmosphere of the collection.