Nearly every model on the runway at Paul & Joe was smiling—from "smizes" to the full monty with teeth. Was it the all-flats footwear? Or the fact that this was the second-to-last show of a grueling month? The explanation came from designer Sophie Albou. "I like smiley girls!" she exclaimed backstage. "I tell them all to smile."
Those happy expressions were a perfect fit for these giddy-cute clothes. This looked unabashedly like a Spring/Summer collection, a thing of note at a moment in fashion when seasonlessness is the standard. Albou opened up shop recently in Los Angeles—her sole stand-alone U.S. outpost—and while her brand of bohemia is parisienne, these flippy printed minidresses, shrunken bombers, embroidered peasant blouses, and fluttery maxi skirts should do a brisk business on the West Coast.
On the verge of her 15th anniversary, Albou explained that she wanted to include everything she loves: color, freshness, and prints. The last gave her a point of difference in a crowded contemporary market that wasn't anywhere near as cheek-by-jowl when she began. The kitten print here will give Albou cool-girl cachet, as will the nerdy prescription glasses, and that should stand her in good stead when she finally opens in New York—a plan that's in the offing.
Albou explained that the huge orb at the opening of the runway was meant to be the sun. Kudos to her for bringing light and warmth to the end of a rainy week.