Rue du Mail has a cultish following in Parisian fashion - you can tell that much from Martine Sitbon's catwalk presentations, more cocktail soiree than fashion show. Toujours party - on and off the catwalk. For Sitbon has honed her skills in dressing up during her time at Rue du Mail, making her label a go-to for a curvy, highly-decorated cocktail number.
They were plenty in evidence on Rue du Mail's Autumn/Winter 2012 catwalk, bristling with applied decoration and sliced out around the figure. As ever, there were a number of stories being told at any one time, just like overheard conversations at those cocktail parties, one might reason. Some aren't entirely to your taste - there was some discussion about the Far East, via a splashy floral watercolour print in vivid crimson and black that, shout as it might, didn't say anything we really wanted to hear. What was whispering rather seductively was Sitbon's knitwear, the opening nubby black-and-white suiting and a single dress with openwork webbing marking go-faster strips down the sides in brilliant red. Combine that with the closing numbers, floating gossamer slips of jewel-coloured georgette with smocking shaping the arms and decollete intricately sliced out into harlequin patterns, and there was a compelling argument for a new way of dressing for evening.
Those are what Sitbon does best, dresses that flutter and flatter the body with clever approaches to elaboration. The cut-out motif was carried over to a series of felted wool dresses, bodices fretworked into something halfway between lace and broiderie anglaise forming cages around the body and windows onto the flesh. A way to reveal, without being revealing. How clever.