The Way of the Waist

The waist declares the statement of the feminine silhouette; the center of a woman’s movement, the point from where a designer begins his art. “It is the body that dictates, not the pencil,” Elie Saab has described.

Pantsuits conform to the body with easy definition, grosgrain ribbons trim the seams in architectural lines to align shoulder and waist with rigor, and most looks are signed with a thin line belt in the ELIE SAAB Ready-to-Wear Spring Summer 2014 Collection.

The evolution of European fashion is told by the waistline. In the mid-1800s, the corset reigned supreme with a ‘taille de guêpe’ or ‘wasp waist’ defining the ideal, which was achieved through corsetry made of whalebone or bodice lacing that serrated the waist from the garments’ interior. Around 1900, couturiers Nicole Groult, Paul Poiret and Madeleine Vionnet followed the natural line of the waist in their designs, shifting the trend entirely.


Today, a woman’s natural waistline is the point of origin of Elie Saab’s design. It dictates a dress’s equilibrium and its volumes as the most delicate yet definitive contour in fashion. And so is the way of the waist, a curve variably refined, respected and elegantly rendered.