Archives for Shirtdresses

Alexis Mabille Spring 2012 RTW

There was something decidedly less precious about Alexis Mabille’s girl this season. His show notes described a girl who’s in touch with her masculine side yet sticks to her womanly ways. That dose of sartorial testosterone seemed to be just the thing to temper Mabille’s saccharine leanings. Banker stripes merged surprisingly well with white lace as trim on sweet little shirtdresses, and even better when inset in the sleeves of a crisp button-down. One of Mabille’s twists was the shirt formed into a bustier, its sleeves knotted into a bow. One slip and it could have felt gimmicky, but he got it right, particularly on two evening looks near the end of the show. In fact, the best things skewed very XY, like another evening option of an hourglass-shaped waistcoat and sleek, toreador-style pants with the tiniest flourish of a Mabille bow at the calf. Inspired by the cinematography of the film The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, the show was staged in a picture-perfect greenhouse at the Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil. That gave Mabille full rein with the Laura Ashley florals in the middle of the show, which, when combined with tasseled fringe and lace, recalled a little girl’s ticky-tacky bedroom circa 1984. And in that vein, we can excuse it as a passing phase. (by Meenal Mistry


Azzaro Spring 2011 RTW

If there was something particularly youthful about Vanessa Seward’s Azzaro collection, you can blame her 5-month-old baby, Jacqueline. “They’re like little girl’s dresses, but more grown-up,” she said of a group of short frocks in cotton dot with ruffles at the shoulders, hem, and neckline. A micro-floral print—discovered in the archives of Abraham, a fabric supplier to Paris couture houses, and used here on a shirtdress and a blouson minidress—kept the theme going.

Then out came a thigh-skimming navy shift with a plunging V-shaped tulle inset lined in crystals. Maybe the Azzaro woman isn’t so innocent after all. The bare back of a halterneck dress seemed to say as much, as did the side cutouts on the collection’s best look, which featured a crystal-smothered bodice and tiered white silk skirt connected by a big black bow.

Seward shows her collection in the Faubourg Saint-Honoré store’s intimate second-floor salon, with the models making fast changes in a pair of dressing rooms, and her assistants showing off alternate versions of each dress on hangers. There were a few floor-length lookers it would’ve been nice to see on the girls, not only because long is such a big story for Spring, but also because it would’ve added some grown-up variety. Still, this show was long on charm. (by Nicole Phelps –