Alexis Mabille is coming of age. The French designer, who last week opened his first stand-alone boutique in Paris, eschewed gimmicks in favor of the kind of clothes likely to appeal to the twentysomething actresses sitting in his front row.


Mabille eased up on his trademark bow-tie motif (worked ad nauseam last season) and got his retro fashion fix from oversize gingham prints that conjured images of a Fifties Brigitte Bardot. These were used on everything from pants and jackets to a sequence of summer dresses with lingerie lace trims, which sometimes led to patchy results. Mabille was at his best when he drew inspiration from men’s wear — his shirtdresses were terrific. There was a black bustier version with a drawstring waist for day, and a floor-length style in rippling ivory satin, worn with biker boots, for night.

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