Perfectionists are not always couturiers, but couturiers are always perfectionists. It is this reason that so many women seek out Alexis Mabille, one of Paris Haute Couture Week’s outlying designers. Mabille doesn’t make frothy, saccharine gowns for black-tie galas, he makes perfect clothing that suit a multitude of occasions. Of course, perfection takes time, keen attention to detail, and a skill level that most only hope to achieve in their lifetime. For Mabille, this all comes as easy as breathing.
As one of the few couturiers content to push the envelope every season, Mabille’s collections are both predictable and unpredictable. You can always count on precise tailoring lifted from the menswear realm, and — more often than not — a monochrome palette, but it is the mutating source of inspiration that is always hard to pin down. For Spring 2016 Couture, Mabille entitles his collection “Timeless Beauties”, a notion that defies how women are perceived to age. Under the white-hot scrutiny of Hollywood’s lens, stars are taking more and more drastic measures to hold onto youth and beauty, but Mabille eschews unnatural intervention. If you’re truly beautiful, time serves to enhance your features by adding the pleasure of laugh lines and the wisdom of proud gray hair. Instead of scorning these inevitabilities, Mabille encourages you to embrace them by showcasing his looks on models of many ages. He furthers his message by showcasing Old Hollywood silhouettes in a monochrome palette that makes the most of the idea of timeless beauty.
As one of the few couturiers content to push the envelope every season, Mabille’s collections are both predictable and unpredictable.
While Mabille did not embellish his clothes with glitter and sparkle, he did offer decorative avenues like embroidery, lace-work, and woven textures to boost the surface appeal of his black-and-white collection. At the outset, he reworks a radiant white trench coat into a floor-length gown by stuffing the hem with plumes of feathers, and further down the line, reworks a tuxedo vest into a slinky, strapless black gown. There are lace frocks of both short and long hemlines, making the case for both day and evening couture. Mabille’s longer gowns, when appointed with ruffles and pleating, suffer from their weight, forcing the models to lose shape within the layers. However, shorter dresses and one particularly skintight lace jumpsuit helped boost the youth profile of a collection that skews mature.