The privilege of opening the Paris menswear shows was once again awarded to French hot shot designer Alexis Mabille. In his second stand-alone menswear collection, the bow tie crazed Mabille continued his self-proclaimed mission to bring ‘Bourgeois with a Twist’ to the people. On the second floor of the Parisian Academy of Architecture – a fitting venue since Mabille’s clothes apparently has an “architectural outlining made out of piping, trimming and painted borders” – he suggested a somewhat sombre look for this autumn.
Luckily it wasn’t his take on the, by now boring, climate of financial doom and gloom, but merely a comment on the colour of the winter sky. And it isn’t just London that is dark and moody, because Mabille’s Paris-inspired collection was all about grey. And black, but mostly…grey! Nevertheless, Alexis being Alexis, there were signs of hope through sparkling and glimmering details that followed the show and, more importantly, the Alexis Mabille customer who went through his daily wardrobe on the catwalk; luxurious office wear to extravagant evening outfits.
His main silhouette was a tight top with loose bottoms, and we saw it in formal suits as well as more casual cords and cardigans. But, as you know, casual isn’t what Alexis does best. He excels at taking basic items – like his duffel coat – and re-making it with Persian lamb materials. Suits came in an interesting heavy wool mix, or as a black wool organza tuxedo and the knitwear came out elaborate, to say the least. And rather rebellious for Mabille, Bermuda shorts were shown on top of long johns.
Underwear collection ‘Zero’ launched with a parade of silk boxers and briefs, often with shirt collar details. The obligatory bow ties were shown in the form of minor details or accessories. All in all Alexis Mabille successfully continued his motto of luxurious menswear for everyday use; sexy AND comfortable!
Dazed Digital: What did you look to for inspiration?
Alexis Mabille: I was influenced by the greyness of the world, how the sky changes colour and how it affects the city. It was very urban, and about being comfortable in a big city – that’s why the collection is called Urban Greys!
DD: You’re always using Paris as your muse, aren’t you?
Alexis Mabille: I love the city – I wake up early when there is no one around, and I go to bed late. I’m not that crazy about travelling like many designers: I get my inspiration here. You won’t see me drawing influences from Africa or India any time soon!
DD: You’ve mentioned sexy and comfortable – aren’t they often opposites?
Alexis Mabille: Yes, but you can do sexy things with sweatshirts and t-shirts. For example, I use beautiful Swiss cotton and then I alter the proportions, and then you have a totally new garment…
DD: Yes, you played around with proportions quite a lot this time!
Alexis Mabille: That’s how I wear my clothes. Personally, I like buying over sized clothes, but I also like a tiny waist, so I change it around with safety pins to play with the volume of the silhouette.
DD: How did the underwear collection ‘Zero’ come about?
Alexis Mabille: Every time I wanted to buy underwear I could only find over-sexy or boring ones, nothing in between. They’re very comfortable and beautiful– for me it’s a question about sensibility.
DD: What’s your favourite piece from the collection?
Alexis Mabille: I love the cardigan with push buttons attached on it!