Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Maison Alexis Mabille Haute Couture


The new boutique and showroom at 34 Galerie Vivienne. Photo by Wilson McCord

Written by, David Pedroza, Editor in Chief
Photos and Art Direction by, Wilson McCord

A month before the news of being granted official title of Haute couture, by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, I visited Alexis Mabille’s new store and showroom, in Paris. I have followed the work of Alexis Mabille, since the launch of his namesake house, back in 2005. He has evolved and retained his own identity since the beginning. Bows, sharp tailoring, uni-sex appeal, and a very French savior faire have all been trademarks in his collections. The launch of Impasse 13, was a mixture of pieces that were couture and pret-a-porter, designed to be worn by men or woman. Not until 2010, did Alexis Mabille start presenting his haute couture pieces on its own, giving it the well-deserved attention and showcasing the craft of his atelier. Since the beginning, the house had no intent on having an haute couture line, but the demands of the clients prove there was a strong desire for made-to-measure clothing with the Alexis Mabille touch.

A Fall 2012 haute couture sequin dress. Background: downstairs fitting room. Photos by Wilson McCord
At 34 Galerie Vivienne, stands the proud, intimate, and private Salon, with a small boutique on the ground floor curated with black and white pret-a-porter pieces. The 2nd floor, is the private, by appointment only, salon which houses haute couture collections. We are welcomed into the ground level boutique, which was purposely arranged to carry only black and white garments. It offers men and women the key staples to a perfect Alexis Mabille wardrobe.  I browse the selection of beautiful accessories, all in Alexis Mabille’s signature, the bow. Bow clutches, bow ties, earrings, necklaces, and pouches in every fabric and metal mixed into a selection of staples. These accessories easily add character to a soft Alexis Mabille smocking jacket or his signature, little-black-dress. We then meet with the communications director and Directrice of the house, Myrthe Mabille, sister-in-law of Alexis Mabille. She is a tall, thin, beautiful woman with a causal, Parisian flair (Mrythe has modeled in some of Alexis’s  shows) . She is warm and kind, and meets with us at the top floor salon, the new showroom for clients who wish to buy from the haute couture line. The soft lighting of the pink and gold printed walls, made after the walls of the Grande Palais, give a soft warm glow.  The space is small and intimate, like stepping into a private dressing room of an haute couture client.  We came on a transition time, when the haute couture collection for Fall 2013 was traveling to Dubai for a private presentation, then to Singapore for their couture fashion week.  The show room had couture pieces from previous collections, which was a treat for me to see almost every haute couture sampling from the beginning.  A small sampling of his Spring 2012 collection hung on a rack, saturated in beautiful bright and vivid acid colors. Beaded bustiers from previous seasons showed the detailed craftsmanship of the Cecile Henri Atelier, the house that produces superior embroideries for Mabille. Fabric swatches and sketches laid on a round table near the window, a design for a private client, which showed the close relationship Alexis Mabille has with his clients. As it was pointed out to me by Myrthe, the salon is a laboratory for client and designer to also create new concepts for custom orders, as well as to fulfill demi couture orders for a client who may not have such a large budget. Alexis Mabille wants to create a personal and one-of-a-kind experience with his clients, and will meet  with them one on one. Myrthe mentioned “clients always ask: Alexis, Alexis, can he come? And he makes time for each of them”. The salon also offers bridal options, and custom designs for a bride to be.
Left to Right: The many buttons on a Alexis Mabille smoking. Bow necklaces. Gwen Stefani wearing a Alexis Mabille Haute Couture hat from the Spring 2012 collection, on the cover of Harper's Bazaar. Alexis Mabille bow ties in Plisse Velvet. Photos by Wilson McCord
The embroidered and beaded bustiers from the Haute Couture collections. Photo by Wilson McCord.
One of my favorite Alexis Mabille Haute Couture pieces from Spring 2011. Photo by Wilson McCord
At 11 rue de Grenelle, Paris, is the address of the stand-alone, Alexis Mabille flag ship store. Our second stop just to see the first Alexis Mabille (many other locations to follow in other cities worldwide) which houses the ready-to-wear and accessories collections for both men and women.  The store reflects a clean and modern vibe, perfect back drop for the flamboyant and chic clothes that have a fun and casual spirit. The walls are adorned with large mirrors (Alexis collects vintage mirrors) with a color palette of soft pink, and of course, black and white. It is the perfect vision for an Alexis Mabille boutique, modern, yet youthful and playful.  Alexis Mabille has established himself as the darling of Paris, and has set his mark in ready to wear and haute couture. He has won the hearts of a new generation, and a strong following that will carry him on to the future. 

Spring 2012 selection of vivid haute couture samples. Photo by Wilson McCord
The façade of the 11 rue de Grenelle Alexis Mabille Flagship store. Photo by Wilson McCord

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