French-Moroccan designer Martine Sitbon’s label, Rue du Mail, conveniently located on the street of the same name, escapes precise categorization. Well, you could say it’s very French, with its eclectic mix of rock ‘n’ roll sleekness and tailored ladylike prim. You could also note that Sitbon’s strengths lie in her dresses, from laser-cut cap sleeves to cheerleader-inspired skirt slits—but then again, the subtly flared ankle trousers give her signature A-line dresses a run for their money. With a front row mélange that included the stunning Clarins sisters, the editor-in-chief of Vogue China, Angelica Cheung (and her son), and blogger Susie Bubble, Rue du Mail appeals to a wide and varied audience.
For her latest collection, Sitbon managed to make the track jacket appropriate for classy soirées through a combination of silken fabrics and bold printed floral designs. Pair it with a matching A-line skirt and Christian Louboutin patent-leather heels, and you get the 21st-century power suit: sporty, youthful, and versatile. One can easily imagine the track jacket worn with a pair of cigarette jeans and the A-line skirt worn with a v-neck tee—but Sitbon is just too much of an expert at prim-and-proper tailoring for that. A belted trench coat with exaggerated black flaps exemplifies her Studio Bercot-taught command of tailoring and proportion.
Other highlights of the collection included a variety of filmy dresses in rich jewel tones, from blood red to bright purple. Sitbon also maintained a whimsical air throughout the collection by playing with laser cuts and sheer fabrics. Intricate embroidery and shimmering fabrics—such as a black laser-cut dress speckled with gold glitter—attest to an attention to detail that is, unfortunately, lost to the undiscerning eye. However, thank goodness the savvy Rue du Mail woman, whether she’s a Clarins sister or a Vogue editor, knows quality and skill when she sees it.