"Graphic surgery" was Alexis Mabille's apt tag for the geometric, color-blocking games he played for Spring. Vertically splicing bi-colored looks from the models' middle-parted hair down to their mismatched shoes—an outfit might be shocking pink on one side, black on the other—the collection was a departure for a young designer more known for bows and dressy, delicate lace. Is he, too, feeling the Celine-led urge to pare back? "Well, I don't know," he said. "I was looking at Cubist and Suprematist art, and Calder. But, yes, I wanted something cleaner, with less embroideries."
The geometric theme gave Mabille a chance to train the eye on his skillful way with cutting, piecing, and jigsawing fabric into tailored pantsuits and coats, supple skating dresses, and a plethora of eveningwear. His bows haven't gone entirely missing—they turned up as a side-tied sash on a narrow pantsuit and formed a frill on a neckline, and also appeared as fat, lush sequined bags. But the problem was that plethora. The economy Mabille applied to line and cut didn't extend to the show's edit. Halfway through, he meandered onto different subjects: black pailletted halter dresses with white collars, a skinny black sweater with a sweeping skirt, silk sailor tops with a minute raw edge. They were all great, but this is a talent who still has to learn that, in terms of putting on an attention-grabbing show, less can be more—especially when that's the technical idea he set out with.