Alexis Mabille went through a phase of thinking it was modern to mix his ready-to-wear and his couture into one homogeneous stew. Reason prevailed when he realized that wasn't doing his craft any favors. But with his new couture outing, he maintained a ready-to-wear fundamental by building his collection from mix-and-match separates.

He started out with a basic eight top-and-bottom combinations and managed to double, maybe even triple them. Admittedly, it was mostly by exchanging a skirt for a pair of pants, or removing a dressy outer layer, but Mabille made his point nevertheless. With a twist, of course. His clothes are scarcely the stuff of an everyday wardrobe, hence his insistence that he was designing for "high-profile events" in the life of the modern professional woman. So a tuxedo jacket could be paired with pants and a pussy-bowed blouse in pink silk crepe, or worn over a simple black cocktail dress. Or a long evening coat might be worn either with a black turtleneck and full lace skirt or a lace bustier and black cigarette pants.

The craftsmanship that Mabille was keen to highlight was most obvious in a black velvet column with a lavishly embroidered and beaded bodice. Random trompe l'oeil petals cascaded down its front. It was the kind of seemingly throwaway gesture that confirms Mabille's sly talent.