Showing right after Raf Simons’ eagerly awaited debut at Dior was never going to be easy. So when Alexis Mabille unveiled his collection at the Shangri-La Hotel, to say it was a change of gears was an understatement.

Where Simons was all about stripped-down modernity, Mabille went for opulent old-school glamour. Inspired by precious jewels, his gowns came in inky velvet, metallic lace and stretch sequined fabrics in rich shades of emerald, garnet and tanzanite — some with extra sparkle, courtesy of Swarovski Elements buttons.

At their best, they were a high-camp version of the knockdown glamour of Hollywood stars like Dolores del Rio and Bette Davis. Highlights included a trio of red and black crepe gowns featuring flowing cape or cowl backs. Others veered into kitsch, such as the high-shine lamé dresses that brought to mind a roll of BacoFoil.

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