June 06, 2014 New York
At heart, Alexis Mabille is a couturier. His sensibility doesn't run to ready-to-wear, at least not in its current, easygoing incarnation. Mabille wants to decorate, to adorn, to bring every kind of feminine frippery to bear on his clothes—bows, flowers, ruffles, and more. You suspect he would have gotten along fine at Versailles, but in the here and now, his collections inevitably cry out for reduction. This season, Mabille was really pushing himself to strike a more relaxed tone; his muse was the Great Gatsby-era tennis player Suzanne Lenglen and his theme was a romantic take on sport. He was onto something with pieces like the bouffant miniskirt done in crisp chambray. That item was one of many that featured Resort's signature element: a pleated ruffle that circled around waists, collars, and hems. The ruffle was fine on its own, if overused, but it contributed to the atmosphere of too-muchness when synced with some of the collection's other recurring motifs—a blurred floral print and delicate lace. (There was also a smattering of embroidered butterflies, a callback to Mabille's last couture show, which felt unnecessary.) Meanwhile, he came as close as he ever has, perhaps, to minimalism with his sleeveless-vest-and-track-pants combo; the vest looked sharp, with its strong shoulder and tuxedo detailing, but the trouser silhouette seemed a bit tired. There was also a near miss in the voluminous shirt and coatdresses: That super-volume trend is pretty much passé. Mabille is a talented designer, to be sure, and his technical skills are formidable. But he could do with an editor, particularly if he wants to make inroads into the American market, where his brand has struggled thus far.
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