February 28, 2008
Now in its third season, Martine Sitbon's Rue du Mail is shaping up as a dress and coat label. With beetles (yes, insects, not the band) as her starting point for Fall, the light, flyaway feeling of the designer's Spring collection was replaced by a more structured yet voluminous lookone that jibed with several other directional Paris shows. True to the stated inspiration, duchesse satin toppers had carapacelike backsSitbon described them backstage as "protective shells." Other coats were narrow through the torso, then bubbled below the waist and from elbow to wrist. Similarly, silk sack dresses came quilted in interesting curvilinear patterns, while crinkled patent-leather frocks kept to the theme with their rigid silhouettes.
Beyond shape, it was the insect's iridescence that turned Sitbon on. Her colors ranged from deep peacock green and eggplant to what she called "neon darks." These appeared on handkerchief silk dresses in abstract wing prints, a motif that she also worked into embroideries of paillettes and patent leather. With no pants and few tops and skirts for diversity, the show became repetitive. But Sitbon has a knack for a special dress, as her front-row fans Sofia Coppola and Emmanuelle Seigner are well aware, and it shouldn't, uh, bug anyone if she chooses to concentrate on her strengths.