Alexis Mabille has been doubling down on his mainstay — evening gowns, cocktail attire and wedding dresses. With haute couture serving as the label’s bread-and-butter, the designer decided to tinker with his rtw proposition and readjust it to funnel interest into the central business. He’s focusing on a select number of retailers per region — quitting Net-a-porter and working exclusively with Harrods, for instance — and providing them with a semi-exclusive offer. Globe trotting clients — once travel resumes — will no longer find the same pieces in Riyadh as in Los Angeles, Boston or London.
His spring lineup offered an array of gowns that sit on the more relaxed side of the black-tie spectrum — not that it’s easy to spot the differences with haute couture; even his clients are sometimes confused.
“It’s not too complex, you can party with this dress,” he said, lifting the back of one with a full skirt in hot pink, to show how, with movement, it trails just slightly.
He worked mostly in solids, contrasting richly colored matte and satin materials, tossing in a few black and white numbers, and adding delicate lace embellishments, like a ruffle along a sleeve cuff. In contrast was a lightweight brocade fabric that carried a small, floral motif, and the flower patterns were sewn more tightly on the inside, which made them puff outward. Contrasting with the long, sleek silhouettes, the designer also made a bolero jacket covered in a patchwork of lifelike fabric flowers, with droopy petals. This he paired with a long, solid dress with pleats, in keeping with the strength of the collection — it felt balanced. And to keep things from getting too stuffy, he tossed in some black, high-top sneakers embellished with embroidery.
Priced in the range of 2,000 to 6,000 euros, Mabille sees the rtw line as a sort of introduction to more sophisticated pieces, for a younger crowd.
“Often we have haute couture clients who buy ready-to-wear for their children, young women who will move on to haute couture,” Mabille said.
“The day you want a ball gown, you turn to haute couture,” he said cheerfully.