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Alexis Mabille And His Addiction to Bow Ties

The relatively new kid on the Paris couture block is out to get people to have more fun with fashion and to adorn the world with bow ties.

Alexis Mabille is all giggles and gaiety when I spoke to him just after his show in July at couture fashion week in Paris. The French designer, who has done stints at Ungaro and Nina Ricci before working with John Galliano and Hedi Slimane for nine years at Dior, launched his successful bowtie line Treizeor in 2005 and also a unisex clothing range which got him on the couture schedule, breathing a sense of fun and frivolity. Mabille enjoys champagne with violet syrup and is addicted to M&M's but when it comes down to designing and creating clothes, the laughter quietens down and he is intent on his own demi-couture approach and getting people to play with their style more.

Dazed Digital:You worked at Dior for nine years - why did you decide to branch out and start your own label?

Alexis Mabille: I was working for John Galliano, and the same time working for Hedi Slimane - it was a lot of work. I was very busy. I decided to stop, to go in my direction. I really wanted to show what my style could be and every season, we have grown to what we are now.  

DD: A very obvious question - why the bow tie?
AM: Started with ready to wear with my label engraved onto mirrored plexiglass and my label in mirror in plexiglass and that was my initial trademark. I decided to launch a bow tie collection and everyone was laughing at me as everyone thought it was old fashioned and boring. For me it wasn't boring and it was very interesting for me and I wore a lot of bowties myself. It was quite logical. It's like a drug to try each season to put the bow tie in an unexpected place.     

DD:Is there a perfect way of wearing the bowtie?   
AM: No. I like it when people play with clothes, I don't want to impose the situation.  I love it when people take the time to think about it to really compose an outfit and to make an individual statement.

DD: What was your inspiration for the recent collection that you showed during the couture schedule in Paris in July?
AM: I don't have a theme at the beginning. It's a question of cut, volume at the beginning.  I make the clothes I love. What I would love to work. When I work, I design lots and lots and then I do an editing to create a harmony. I work on the designs, volume and materials. It could be influenced by a period, a piece of furniture and it's not always very clear.  

DD: Would you like to continue showing at couture fashion week or perhaps move to ready to wear?
AM: Couture week comes just after menswear and it's easier to work with buyers and menswear.  There are couture pieces in the mix and the detailing and finishing is very couture. It's a bit different and there is something special because there is a spirit of Paris in the collection.  

DD: You have created bespoke clothes for Sofia Coppola and her boyfriend Thomas Mars - are there any other high-profile people you would love to dress?  
AM: I make special pieces for people that I can't name.  All I can say is that there isn't just one kind of customer that I like to dress.

DD: What other designers do you admire or take inspiration from in your work?  
AM: I don't take inspiration from one particular designer. I do admire Thom Browne, Rodarte and Christian Lacroix. From a shopper's perspective, I love pieces by Chanel and Hedi Slimane. During the collections, I don't look at others as I don’t want to be distracted and I just want to show what I love.

DD: What are your hopes for Alexis Mabille as a brand and what do you see in the future happening for the brand?
AM: Just want to continue and do better collections and to do a lot more accessories, more shoes. Maybe even open boutiques, thenormal development of company. I do however want to keep it personal and to have my spirit in it whatever I do.

DD:Will we see the bow popping up in every Alexis Mabille collection or will you turn to a different motif in the future?  
AM: For sure!  It is the Alexis Mabille logo!