Charm goes a long way in this business. Just ask Alexis Mabille, whose newbie couture house has been built on his ability to make people smile. The collection he showed Monday amused with its over-the-top debutantes decked out in duchesse satin, chandelier earrings and braided ponytails woven with rosettes for a style that evoked the grand tradition of Barbie dolls — though that probably wasn’t what he was going for.
Mabille envisioned himself a sculptor, working up a test model for every finished piece. So each look came twice, first in ivory followed by a colorful version. The setup guaranteed repetition, and it doesn’t take two go-rounds to understand the long, le smoking robes, simple scarf dresses done in tulle and lace and short dresses trailing bunchy, voluminous skirts that could be undone and converted to capes.