Studio Harcourt on Paris' rue Jean Goujon was founded in the early part of the twentieth century, and grew to become such a destination for heroically lit, up-close-and-personal portrait photography that the stars of the silver screen, both from Hollywood and from Paris, were known to drop by for a sitting. More recently, it was the scene of Sophie Albou's menswear presentation for Paul & Joe. Albou was designing, she said, with French cinema's l'age d'or in mind: the fifties and sixties, when "chic, beautiful, elegant, and very masculine men" like Yves Montand ruled the roost. It was an homage to mid-century staples: belted overcoats, fedoras, and flat caps; wider-legged pants than P & J's usually slim-cut standard. It could have been costumey, but for every wide pant, there was its counterpart in skinny, as well as colors, shapes, and fabrications that her young client base will recognize as their own, whether they know Yves from Adam.
She may be looking toward the past for inspiration, but Albou continues to
move her label forward. She is introducing a diffusion men's line, PJ, this
year. And if all goes well, her first New York store will bow in 2012, too.