Alexis Mabille Couture Fall 2021

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Alexis Mabille is counting on the fact that his A-list clientele is ready and waiting to bloom once more on the red carpet. With his exuberant fall collection, he transformed his models into giant blossoms — quite literally with a series of all-over sequined catsuits that formed the flower’s stem. Their heads were then topped with voluminous casimir silk hoods in the form of rosebuds, or their bodies enveloped with giant skirt-capes made from flounces of petal-like tulle.

He had fun playing with contrasts between classic couture fabrics and surprising materials; an otherwise minimalist white shirt, paired with a long black pencil skirt, had voluminous transparent plastic sequined sleeves filled with bouquets of embroidered blooms. The bodice of a mini bustier dress in white casimir silk was bursting with a bouquet of life-like silicone tulips, the dress itself resembling the paper they were wrapped in by the florist. In one of the most grandiose looks, in bronze crêpe, a boat-neck sheath dress had sleeves that opened up like giant roses, their petals stiffened by layer-upon-layer of precisely placed tulle, their centers embroidered with seed beads from which the arms emerged.

Embroideries were intended to evoke garden trellises or climbing flowers, while an opulent brocade coatdress, its fabric inspired by an elaborate 17th-century design, had an embroidered appliqué over layer that looked to have been dipped in sugar. A jersey sheath, embroidered with leather sequins that gave it sheen without the glitz, was embroidered with winding thorny motifs.

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The theme carried over in a less literal register on some of the crêpe and duchesse satin gowns Mabille is best known for, with their classic Hollywood-style glamor. A duchesse gown with a ribbed bodice was worked in two shades of yellow, its inside a more vibrant hue, and its form recalling that of a daffodil.

For the classicists, there was a bibbed tuxedo dress the color of an iris, its cuffs adorned with Mabille’s signature bow, or a bustier gown in red and pink with a giant bow detail at the waist.

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As for those catsuits, made from bi-stretch tulle with zigzag sequin embroideries, they are new territory for the energetic French designer — aside from a bespoke costume for Katy Perry that, to his knowledge, she has yet to wear on stage.

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