Alexis Mabille likes a schism. It's what has given his work—for men or women, and for better or worse—its skewed charm. Today, he showed in the Musée Bourdelle, the space where, 100 years ago, Antoine Bourdelle made white plaster maquettes as dummy runs for his huge sculptures. Mirror images, if you like. And that was actually the theme of Mabille's show. Each outfit was offered in white and then rerun in a colored version. A fr'instance: Look #1, "Vestale," was a floor-length sheath in purest white crepe, as virginal as its name. It was followed by exactly the same piece in midnight blue.

Mabille cut one dress from squares of white lace, then duplicated it in the same lace prettily hand-painted in the colors of Sèvres porcelain. The effect had some psychological impact—dark versus light—when an asymmetric, one-shouldered gown in two tones of green with a pink rose garland reappeared in white, the flowers now camellialike. The conceit got tired soon enough, but it did allow plenty of time to reflect on the fragile detail of the designer's work. It had its own quiet drama, too, in final outfits wrapped in huge duchesse satin overskirts that untied to become capes. It was the kind of racy transformation you imagine France's First Lady, a Mabille fan, would be happy to make.