There were quite a lot of ideas knocking around the Rue du Mail
runway tonight. A few too many ideas, as it happened, for this collection to communicate a clear, coherent message, though each one in turn was individually compelling. Designer Martine Sitbon had strong themes going, for instance, in her play with florals: There were floral-printed dévorés, and coarse floral embroideries, and funny floral appliqués that seemed suspended off garments. And more. You could intuit Sitbon's mind working, as she experimented with ways of integrating the same motif into very dissimilar looks. Some of these efforts fared better than others—black and white bouclé gilets and coats with single flower embroidery had an almost mournful elegance, while the coarser embroidery on a couple of subdued shift dresses had an interesting, vaguely feral quality.
Elsewhere, Sitbon turned out a variety of winning looks in a magnified herringbone, in particular the robelike coat that opened the show. That graphic element found a nice echo in the collection's wave-patterned embroideries and chunky knits. Then, all of a sudden, Sitbon hit her stride. In a passage of blue-tinged furs and glittery skirts, culottes, and dresses, this collection found its glamorously louche heart. The Rue du Mail girl was off to the disco, apparently, and the directness of these looks, and their relative exuberance, made for a nice change of pace. There was also a plainer directive here, in terms of silhouette, than anywhere else in the collection. Outside of that disco group, though, this show was just a bit too digressive.