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ELIE SAAB: Growth of a Global Luxury Brand
Nadia Shuayto

Synopsis

Set in 2010, this case explores the history of ELIE SAAB (ES), a leading name in haute couture, and explores the company’s factors that made it a successful global brand. Saab’s designs appeared on Hollywood A-listers like Halle Berry, Catherine Zeta Jones, Christina Aguillera, Beyonce’, and Angelina Jollie. Princesses clamored to buy his lavish eveningwear, including the stylish Queen Rania of Jordan.

Saab opened his first atelier in Beirut, Lebanon in 1982 and began designing luxurious evening gowns and exquisite wedding dresses. His talent for design fueled his career throughout the 1980’s. In the 1990’s Saab continued to expand his business, moving to a larger atelier in Beirut and organizing exclusive fashion shows in Europe. In 2000, he opened a salon and showroom in Paris to target his cosmopolitan and international clientele.

Saab’s business continued to expand. A flagship store in Paris opened in March 2007. In June 2010, ES opened its first flagship store in the Gulf Region in Dubai’s prestigious Dubai Mall. The new flagship store, located at the Luxury Circle in Fashion Avenue, reinforced the brand's presence in the United Arab Emirates making it more accessible to the region’s local and international shoppers, showcasing day and eveningwear dresses, shoes, bags and accessories from the latest RTW collections.

In July 2008, ES opened its first UK boutique at Harrods. The company planned to increase its worldwide retail presence with additional stores to open in major cities around the world, including the United States and Asia.

While the company was witnessing impressive growth, management was dealing with the challenge of selecting the right partners, identifying new markets with the greatest growth potential and, most importantly, protecting the brand from dilution. From the start, their goal to growing the brand was “to attract, select and maintain...
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