Sunday, April 14, 2013

ALEXIS MABILLE: Exclusive Interview

By Eva Fydrych

'The cool luxury'

French Couture Week 2012 (Photo courtesy of Fide Fashion Weeks)

Alexis Mabille is a French designer who became an official member of the prestigious Chambre Syndicale de Haute Couture in 2012. Alexis gained his experience working for the best fashion houses in Paris: Christian Dior, Lancome, and Yves Sain Laurent. He established his own house in 2005.

We had an opportunity to meet this talented designer during French Couture Week 2012 where Alexis showed 18 amazing haute couture creations. In our exclusive interview Alexis talks about the design process, his personal style, and his approach to fashion.

Alexis Mabille

Occupation: Fashion Designer
City: Paris, France

SS 2013 Haute Couture, Paris, Jan. 21, 2013. (Photo: Christophe Ena, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

FASHION STUDIO: Let's start from the very beginning of your designing career. How did you get interested in fashion?

ALEXIS: I don't really know, because I started when I was 8 or 9 years old. There were a couple of people in my family who were involved in the decoration world. I was interested in colours and fabrics. I started to sew and to ask around how I can make my designs possible. That's how I started...

Step by step, I did some internships during my studies. Then I went to Paris to make my technique more precise. I worked with John Galliano at Dior for 10 years. After that, I did consultancy for many people.

FASHION STUDIO: How was working at Dior under John Galliano? Could you tell us more about that experience?

ALEXIS: I really wanted to work with John Galliano. I first started as an intern, just after school. We had a very good connection. After my internship was finished, he asked me to stay. The team was new and fresh. We had a lot of fun with all the new projects such as changing the image of the fashion house. Those ten years passed so quickly! It was a very intense time and we had lots of fun.

SS 2013 Haute Couture, Paris, Jan. 21, 2013. Photo: Christophe Ena, ASSOCIATED PRESS

FASHION STUDIO: Could you describe your first collection?

ALEXIS: My first collection was a unisex pants collection. It was all about cut, colours, and materials. From those early beginnings, step by step, we went into womenswear and haute couture.

FASHION STUDIO: Looking back at your first collections, is there anything you would like to improve?

ALEXIS: There are things that are the same in terms of spirit and creation. Because it's part of my mood and personality. But of course every season is different and you will improve every season. But it's normal, it's really part of what we have to do. When you create something, you change your mind everyday, you reinterpret everything, you have some new ideas. And that's very important, I think.

FASHION STUDIO: Could you describe your design process?

ALEXIS: It's very simple. I draw a lot. When I'm on the plane, I'm doing a lot of drawings: shirts, pants, dresses. After that I create a wardrobe and I compose the looks. Then I choose the colours and materials. After that we create the patterns. 

Photo by Nur Photography

FASHION STUDIO: What is the main source of inspiration for your designs?

ALEXIS: It's a bit of everything. I don't really think about it. It could be books I read or things I saw during my trips. But I'm more inspired by the attitude of people. It's interesting to recreate a way of life, a way to move, how to give a body a kind of sex appeal. To play more with the body. Because clothes are the integral part of the body. A good match between the personality and the way of dressing is very important.

FASHION STUDIO: How would you describe a woman who is wearing your designs? Who do you design for?

ALEXIS: I would say the word 'frivolous' describes it best. Because it's part of the tradition and the sexiness. She has a fancy attitude and she is a bit of a naughty girl too. It is a mix of elegance and naughtiness, an 'elegant naughty' attitude.

FASHION STUDIO: French women are famous for their style and elegance. What is, in your opinion, their secret?

ALEXIS: I don't know. Maybe they don't think too much about it. It is a question of education and tradition. And we have a long history of fashion. We call it 'the cool luxury'. You don't see it, but you know it, because you look amazing, the cut is good. You look elegant or you look cool, but at least it's not like the little black dress. It's more about the attitude still. So I think it's part of the culture and the history of fashion.

French Couture Week 2012 (Photo courtesy of Fide Fashion Weeks)

FASHION STUDIO: What are your favourite places in Paris? Where do you usually go shopping?

ALEXIS: There is Colette, a really nice shop which I love. I don't do so much shopping though. Because I have my own collection, I wear my own clothes. But I like to go to the city, sometimes even without a purpose, and find a nice art and craft shop which carries some cool things such as a beautiful writing paper, stylish envelopes, etc.

FASHION STUDIO: How would you describe your personal style? 

ALEXIS: It's very traditional but twisted.

FASHION STUDIO: Who is your favourite Asian designer?

ALEXIS: I won't lie, I'm not very familiar with Asian designers. They are still not very popular in Europe. I'm familiar with Junko Shimada, because she has been in Paris for a very long time. I also know other Japanese designers that live and work in Paris.

French Couture Week 2012 (Photo courtesy of Fide Fashion Weeks)

FASHION STUDIO: How would you define fashion?

ALEXIS: Oh, that's a huge question... For me the technical part of fashion is very important. You draw something, because you think it's good as a trend. You want to push everything, because finally when you create the collection it's to renew everything. You want to renew what people want to wear. It's about playing with creation and pushing the society in the direction you like.

FASHION STUDIO: What is your approach to using new technologies in fashion?

ALEXIS: We use technology in our catwalk shows in order to create interesting visual effects. I'm not crazy about using new technologies in fabrics manufacturing. It's very difficult to create a high level of comfort for the client. Some materials look nice, but they are not very comfortable, the materials are a mix of polyesters and a lot of synthetics. It's not like using a normal fabric yet. So technology is definitely good for the show, but nothing more. For me the comfort of my client is a top priority.

FASHION STUDIO: It is your third time in Singapore. What is your opinion about Singaporean street fashion?

ALEXIS: It depends on the area. In some rich areas people wear a lot of designer clothes, in others they just wear simple T-shirts and jeans. Fashion is developed well in the areas where people have money, because they have better knowledge and better access to the boutiques. 

French Couture Week 2012 (Photo courtesy of Fide Fashion Weeks)

FASHION STUDIO: You travel a lot. What is the most stylish city except Paris?

ALEXIS: There are a lot of stylish places around the world. You have Paris, London, New York, Berlin - all of them are very different. In Singapore they really want to push fashion forward. They want to make people learn about it. Organising fashion events such as French Couture Week is a great opportunity to show the trends.

FASHION STUDIO: What are your future plans? Where do you see yourself in a couple of years time?

ALEXIS: Actually, we did a lot last year. We opened two shops in Paris. I want to continue, step by step, to make it bigger and bigger every day.

FASHION STUDIO: What is your ultimate goal as a fashion designer?

ALEXIS: I don't really think about it. I usually just do what my instinct tells me to do...

FASHION STUDIO: Thank you so much for your time. It was a real pleasure to talk to you.


Photos courtesy of

Photos courtesy of

Photos courtesy of


Alexis Mabille has just visited Singapore again! Please visit Fide Fashion Weeks Facebook page for the latest updates.

Alexis Mabille and Eva Fydrych, November 2012, Singapore

1 comment:

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