World's 100 Most Powerful Arabs - Creatives
Today, the 49-year-old runs a truly global empire, with boutiques in Beirut, Paris, London, Dubai, Hong Kong and Mexico City. The collections are sold in 50 countries and 70 points of sale worldwide. The Elie Saab story is as original as many of his designs. Born in Beirut to a wood merchant and housewife, his interest in dress making started when he was just nine years old. In 1982, at the age of 18, he opened his first couture atelier in Beirut with fifteen staff on the payroll.
Today, with the expansion and growth of the brand, more than 200 employees are part of Elie Saab Group. The brand’s global breakthrough started in 1997 with an invitation to take part in the Camera Nazionale della Moda as the only non Italian designer. Since 1999, Elie Saab has dressed Hollywood cinema, music, theatre and television A-list stars.
A philanthropist, he participated in many charity events: Paris tout P’tits, les Sapins des Créateurs, les Frimousses des Créateurs, Sidaction, Red Cross fund-raisers, but also the Mosaic Foundation in Washington, the fight against breast cancer in London, the fight against children’s cancer in Beirut. In 2003, he received the title of “Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Cèdre” presented to him by the President of the Lebanese Republic.
Despite his much-travelled lifestyle, Beirut remains the main source of inspiration for Elie Saab.