Alexis Mabille

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Ah, the seventies. At the moment it's the decade with a ripe popularity level roughly equal to that of Anna Dello Russo making her way through the Tuileries. But for 32-year-old Alexis Mabille it holds the lure of childhood nostalgia, even though he was born too late to experience it firsthand. Some boys never forget their first fashion loves: In Mabille's case he name-checked Anjelica Huston and Nan Kempner.

That duo's louche and lean sensibility is somewhat at odds with Mabille's effervescent cuteness. Squaring the two was his obvious task at hand, and a point of difference when using less-than-original source material. It was evident in the sweet little hits of color you got through pastel piping on jersey wrap skirts, languid twinsets, collarless coats, and flowing Halston-esque silk gowns, and even a turtleneck worn under a square-cut tunic dress. And, of course, the bows. One was worked into the back collar of a black smoking like a little gift. But the smartest Mabille touch here was all the little covered buttons, especially when seen in profile running down the side of a sleeve or trimming a hem.

One reason this era boomerangs back into fashion so frequently is that there's something forever modern-looking about it. But that element was missing here in the overwrought look of suede-fringed scarves, heavy tunic shapes, and paisley prints. It's not that you couldn't pull out great pieces, but the big picture was probably best left as a sweet memory.


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