by AMY VERNER
The Paul & Joe show took place on a barge-cum-nightclub, where the models also disembarked to the adjacent embankment, expanding the runway into public space on a Friday at dusk. It was a friendly gesture—somewhat akin to Givenchy’s Spring ’16 dockside defilé—that wouldn’t have been possible three weeks ago when this stretch of the city was submerged under a swollen Seine.
But last night, Sophie Mechaly, ever upbeat, said she believed all would return to normal in time to present a refreshed vision. The men’s and Resort collections were near mirrors of each other, with the opening looks showcasing a grayscale floral print inspired by Robert Mapplethorpe (loosely, no sexual charge) that suggested a more relevant look than seasons past. And indeed, as the show continued, a grouping of crisp khakis, patchwork denim, and deconstructed pinstripe pieces confirmed as much.
Mechaly, who hinted at working with a new creative sidekick, said she realized it was time to move past the ’70s spirit, leaving the cutesy shtick behind for something sharper but equally youthful. Guys dressed in sweater-to-sneaker pink, and girls wearing toned down lingerie tops with slouchy trousers picked up on trends set elsewhere without feeling entirely déjà-vu. A statement more zeitgeist than fashion was made with a T-shirt that appeared to read “Available” underneath a light wool blazer; later in the lineup, a sweatshirt boasted “Unavailable” in a banner, as if a point of pride. Either or both will sell well in the age of Tinder. But catching up is not the same as forging ahead, so it will be interesting to watch how Paul & Joe progresses from this moment. For now, Mechaly’s franglais description of “une bonne vibe” will do.