Haute Couture Fall 2009:
Alexis Mabille and Stéphane Rolland
Haute Couture is upon us and I’m happy to report that the visual splendor and creative energy of these shows is still very much alive. Perhaps the recent economic climate and cost-cutting initiatives have moved me to appreciate the vitality of couture more than ever. I’ve been twittering away @Susan_Tabak, but here are some of my notes on the shows in more detail.
Monday began with Alexis Mabille. On the heels of his first menswear show last week in Paris, this collection did not possess the dramatic flair associated with Haute Couture but had a tranquil beauty instead. The pure white setting within L’Académie on rue Royale — coupled with the loose silk dresses in light pinks and blues, grays and black — gave the show a dreamy bedtime quality. The dresses’ ribbon, lace and signature Mabille bowties may not appeal to Chic Over 40, but they had an undisputed loveliness that anyone can admire.
The highlight of the collection for me was the black evening dress with dramatic hourglass cut-outs in the bodice and a slit up the side. Sensational! My friend Liana Yaroslavsky liked it, too. She said a woman’s got to have a great figure to wear it, though, and I agree! Wedding couture – with a twist – was the last look of the show. The bride wore her own version of a tux, including skintight black pants with floral lace side panels. Twin male models (also sporting black tuxes with matching lace up the pantlegs) carried the bride’s train together. It was a cheeky finale that the crowd enjoyed.
I went backstage afterward to congratulate Alexis. I also took a picture with those twin models!
Below are some additional photos from the front row at Alexis Mabille and then backstage.
Then it was off to Stéphane Rolland. The show was held at Palais de la Découverte, a regal venue with a grand staircase befitting the beautiful collection. This show seemed to have a broader appeal than past collections, especially with French actresses Emmanuelle Béart, Bérénice Bejo and Sofia Essaïdi seated in the front row. Ultimately, though, it was for the couture client and not for the sake of making a splash. The collection was quietly glamorous, replete with creative architecture, exquisite detailing and refined sexiness. The strong shoulders, intriguing fabric cut-outs and geometric belts stood out against the subdued palette of grays, whites and blacks.
I took a moment after the show to say hello to Stéphane and to interview Emmanuelle Béart as well.