Like others before him, Alexis Mabille found inspiration in Giovanni Boldini and the society figures the Italian painter immortalized in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Mabille devoted his entire collection to them, and the 27 looks, named after the likes of courtesan Cléo de Mérode and social figure Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, were full of artistic touches.
A textured pink and yellow brocade evening skirt, for example, was overlaid with pale tulle that was painted with wisterias and floral sprigs, while gray-and-white brushstrokes were dabbed on the sleeves and trousers of a fitted black tuxedo suit, which was topped with a delicate black organza ruffle collar.
Mabille also contrasted demonstrative volumes — often incorporating his signature bow motif — with fitted tailoring, though his color combinations, like the saccharine blue, green and pink painting effect on a dress, did not always work, and some of the executions were heavy-handed. Among the standouts was a blue-and-gold lamé jacket sprouting 3-D crystal lotus flowers, which brought to mind Monet’s “Water Lilies.”