Alexis Mabille ventured into new territory this season — tiptoed, rather — offering a few pieces in black.
“I usually work with midnight blue, but this time I felt like adding black — but always with bold colors,” he was quick to note. The black clothing served as an accent to the collection, he suggested, pointing to a few items tucked in front of a ground-sweeping dress in bright yellow.
One of the rare black pieces was an off-the-shoulder shirtdress, cinched at the waist, in an airy satin organza, its puffed out sleeves an elegant nod to his couture roots.
It is becoming a tradition for Mabille to present his ready-to-wear collection in an intimate, by-appointment setting — part of his project of refocusing the collections around high-end daywear while pre-collections move further into dressier, evening territory.
Ever playful, Mabille tooled around with materials, making two vastly different dresses using the same pattern. Here was a light, airy day dress in striped blue cotton poplin; suddenly, in a silky satin in midnight blue with back lace trim, it took on a sultry tone for evening. There were quite a few of these silky, lacy numbers, peeking out from the more regal, sculptured pieces.
The designer recently closed his Rue de Grenelle address in Paris, swapping it for a new boutique in the Ritz that opened in July. Hotel clients can call up dresses for fitting in the comfort of their rooms, and the store is open from noon to 9 p.m. every day.
Lifting a flowing, striped dress in the lightest black-and-white poplin, Mabille revealed the underside was striped in green and white — a new, no bleed, printing technique. Another striped dress had a bust built like a trenchcoat, while the bottom flowed out generously, its deep pockets lending an air of casualness.
The lineup was Mabille through and through — couture codes applied to chic daywear, endless experiments in volumes in the form of oversize button-up shirts and puffy sleeves, the overall exuberance reined in by disciplined cuffs and collars, and cinched waists and intricate gatherings.
“I add a twist to the great classics for a look that could suit a chic woman from the Upper East Side or, at the same time, a wilder, younger woman with tattoos,” he said with a mischievous grin.