A young designer like Alexis Mabille is living testament to the potency of the Parisian couture mythos. The gowns he creates are the sort of thing you imagine a boy racked by fever dreams of fashion would conjure up: big, elaborate, luxe confections that would once have been the very definition of "Paris fashion" for the likes of magazine readers, moviegoers, and anyone anywhere who lived a vicarious life as opposed to a glamorous one. But Mabille always brings more than that to the table, usually something arcane and utterly French. It doesn't always work, but at least he gets an A for effort.

This time, he looked to La Fontaine's classic animal fables, dressing his models in outfits inspired by all forms of furred, feathered, and feelered creatures. The Ant was in glossy black crepe, with side slits baring an expanse of thigh. The wings of her Grasshopper rival were duplicated in lamé and duchesse satin on the bodice of a dress.

The Black Wolf was in black velvet with Swarovski "fangs" running down both arms. Long silk fringes were bunched to form a bustier for The Horse. Then they were tied in the back, where they flowed into a tail-like train. The Magpie was perhaps the simplest and the most effective: an elongated black swallowtail coat over a white crepe column.

There was both drama and logic in such pieces. But not always. The poor Swan was cursed with mustard yellow leggings below her minidress of tattered white organza. As for the Frog (which sounds so much better in the original as La Grenouille), she wore a silk gown so huge it was easy to imagine dwarves were supporting her under her dress. At least that was an image that stuck with the fabulist theme, but it also highlighted Mabille's tendency to the overwrought. A weakness, for now.