Take away the runway, the audience and the celebrity guests, and what do you have left? “Attitude,” according to Alexis Mabille, who showcased his fall couture collection with a virtual show featuring a single model and held inside a shocking pink box.
It’s not the first time the designer has skipped the runway. In recent years, he has experimented with showing his designs in static presentations and even a photo exhibition. This time around, he leveraged the power of social media, teasing his presentation with “making-of” videos.
Like most designers this season, Mabille worked with the materials he had in stock, alternating his classical Hollywood-inspired silhouettes with magpie combinations of pattern and color. “I really wanted this collection to be a joyful hymn to women,” he said.
Colorful motifs inspired by the tapestries of Jean Lurçat appeared on a pea coat and a long purple crepe sheath dress with a spray of Technicolor feather flowers at the neck. He used his signature bow sparingly: as a graphic detail on the bodice of a skintight violet sheath dress, or to loosely tie the back of a pink caftan.
Mabille’s mastery of draping was evident in his jewel-colored eveningwear: loose, dropped-shoulder Grecian-style dresses in ruby or sapphire blue velvet, or a flawless emerald green jersey sheath dress with a high-precision draped bustier neckline.
But it was fun to see him take risks with fabric associations, like pairing a striped organza shirt trimmed with gold fringe with animal-patterned sequined palazzo pants encrusted with black lace — a distinct outlier in a collection focused on classically flattering cuts.
“It wouldn’t make any sense right now to make dresses with a mile-long train,” said Mabille. “That doesn’t feel appropriate and above all, when I designed it, it was quite peaceful and satisfying to work with a catalogue of fabrics and a sheet of white paper, and to design a collection as if I was a woman and I was designing for myself.”