Alexis Mabille opened and closed his show with two versions of a “boxing dress,” short in satin, long in crepe. Normally this would invite some analogy to being in fighting form. Yet the designer stressed backstage that, despite the obvious sport message, this collection was an exercise in conceiving a wardrobe of ultrafeminine essentials. Mabille explained how each piece related back to sport in some way, even if obliquely; he added track trim and a hood to a white cotton gabardine trench, for instance, and turned sweatpants into the type of high-waist trousers that could be worn to the theater. Meanwhile, all those mesh sheaths over sequined gold bikinis leaned more toward Sports Illustrated than SoulCycle—a flawless body would be a prerequisite for wearing them. As for the styling effects—repeated use of large military chain slung around waists or necklines, and transparent film bandaged around torsos for high-gloss impact—they exaggerated the notion of glamour to a level that most women wouldn’t consider re-creating off the runway. It was with some relief that the final grouping of asymmetric dresses in satin and crepe, some affixed with interpretations of Mabille’s signature bow, felt almost anticlimactic.
A prolonged soundtrack interlude of orgasmic moaning prompted some to giggle and others to look around uncomfortably. Certainly this clashed with what Mabille described as the “delicateness and elegance” of his ideal woman today. For a collection that aimed high, it was a low blow.