"American boy, American girl, most beautiful people in the world." That was the line from the Doors' "Queen of the Highway," which closed Paul & Joe's show, where Sophie Albou's imaginary muse was riding her motorcycle from the Southwest into Mexico. This open-road royal is the kind to pair her drab, patch-pocketed shirt with a bright silk ikat skirt, a sleek chignon, and beaded high-heel sandals. In short, a mix of the army surplus store and the local ethnic emporium, with a touch of glamour.

Particularly with the groovy soundtrack, the stage was set for something dusty and bohemian. The hippie-chic revival of embroidered jeans, creamy fringed ponchos, and languid peasant dresses felt quite right. Albou's twist was to gild the look. "She likes gold; she likes luxury," the designer said backstage. There were gold buttons and Lurex knits, but bronze and gold leather jeans and button-downs really made the point.

Albou's obsession with America is understandable since it's a market she's been positioning her company to invade. And this was a collection that her legion of fans will respond to. Still, going forward, we trust that she won't entirely neglect her Gallic, gamine side.