The theme for Alexis Mabille’s couture collection could not have been more classic — in the literal sense of the term. The French designer was inspired by Greco-Roman statues to create a variety of “vestal goddess” gowns designed to showcase his skill with pleating.
The execution was a different matter. As the first model emerged, her hair and face covered in paper butterflies — including one perched on her nose — it was clear that Mabille would be giving the subject an idiosyncratic spin.
There were a couple of flawlessly executed gowns, such as a white jersey dress with a portrait neckline and tiny amber-colored vertical crystals scattered across the bodice. Striking, too, was an ivory jersey number with a pleated front, split down the middle to reveal a slice of cleavage, and a three-quarter length cape back.
But all too often, the outfits — with their frothy styling and sugared almond shades — evoked a Disney-fied version of ancient Rome. An extravagantly pleated Mark Anthony coat in a metallic yellow curtain material looked straight out of a theater costume department.
Mabille clearly has a talent for producing evening gowns in the old-school glamour vein, but one can’t help wishing he would evolve his aesthetic into a more sophisticated vision.