Model on the catwalk

MOVING ON UP: Alexis Mabille is sitting out the runway season in Paris as he repositions his main collection to focus on the sophisticated tuxedos and glamorous evening gowns that have won him fans including Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Dita Von Teese.

The French designer will show his fall ready-to-wear line in showroom appointments, alongside a film clip, together with items from his pre-fall collection, for those buyers who could not come to Paris in January.

“The main collection is much more concentrated this season, and since we are changing its focus, I didn’t necessarily want to do a runway show, but rather shoot a video and a very nice look book in order for the message to be clearer,” Mabille told WWD.

That message is: out with the sweatshirts, in with the cocktail and bridal offerings. To wit, he snuck items from the pre-fall collection – which represents 70 percent of sales – onto the runway during Paris Couture Week alongside his haute couture creations, proof that they have become hard to distinguish.

To be coherent with its new strategy, the house is severing some of its retailer relationships, even as it develops new partnerships, including a return to Net-a-porter in May, he added. As a result, the number of points of sale should remain more or less stable this year at between 40 and 50.

“We founded the label 12 years ago and we know our clients, in particular those that are faithful and have stuck with us. And in fact, they come to us to buy pieces that are very elaborate and that are not necessarily evening dresses, but that have a strong added value in terms of creativity and detail,” Mabille said.

“We realized over time that there are products that are incredibly fun to make, but it’s not our core business. So you might as well focus on what you’re good at,” he added, referring to the more accessibly priced sportswear he has shown in recent years alongside his signature evening wear.

Mabille’s move is part of a groundswell of changes to the Paris show calendar this season. Altogether, some nine brands have cancelled or moved their runway shows, and four are joining.

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