Clean and simple might be Akris’s motto. This label delivers smart and elegant streamlined clothes season after season without ever breaking this golden rule. Not only are the clothes beautifully cut; the apparent “envelope” behind their construction is as complementary to the silhouette as it is forgiving. This season was no exception, but this time color-blocking helped redefine the collection. Yet, in Akris mode, color-blocking was relegated to separates and prints based on the works by Franz Kline. Fur was used effectively to enhance the outerwear and a few handbags. Rinsing black mink with Prussian blue gave it a lovely nocturnal elegance.
Andrew Ng, if not one of Paris best-kept secrets, is certainly one of its low-key stars. There is always something so inspiring, something to grasp attention, when he shows. This season, he reinterpreted Victorian dress, but by the look of it, the influence was only superficial. The looks were very current, even slightly fashion-forward in their elegant toughness. Mr. Ng is a consummate tailor, one very adept at draping, so his pieces always show an elevated sophistication. His leather pieces (some shearlings, others lined with other pelts) are particularly original. The leather and fur ornamentations onto textiles defy expectation… the zigzag embroideries are exquisite.
Costume National’s latest collection was dark and fluid. The darkness came in the overwhelming use of black, the way the outerwear covered the body, its application in furs; the fluidity came in swaths of beautiful woolens, pants and coats cut with largess, and great layering. The collection was much more Goth–Jet set than anything seen before, but when it came to fur, the looks became much more edgy. This conscious effort helped cement that Costume National modernity that is favored by throngs of fans.
Alexis Mabille loves couture and always seems to channel one or two historical references in his collections. Mr. Mabille loves beautiful clothes, women who look the part, and concepts that complement both. This season he looked into his own backyard, the Paris bohemian-bourgeois crowd found in the 9th arrondissement. Calling Mabille’s work innovative is missing the mark; he favors pretty, good cuts, clothing to invest in. His work is impeccable and his choices of materials is exemplary. Yet, being polite doesn’t have to mean boring. This season he opted to merge materials such as fur and feathers to great effect. The combo was loads of fun and looked rather chic.