Paul & Joe Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2013 Paris

Showing near the end of a Fashion Week, or in this case at the end of what is becoming dubbed Fashion Month with all four major cities having had their turn, is an unenviable position. If you’re in on a trend that other designers have also tapped into, reviewers will be unable to resist drawing parallels even only in their own minds.

In the case of Paul & Joe, Sophie Albou hit the same wave as Isabel Marant and had Hawaii on her mind when designing her spring/summer 2013 collection. But whereas Marant has been having an Americana thing for a while, Albou is quintessentially Parisian, and even inspiration from the antipodes didn’t divert her from what has her loyalists coming for more, soft tailoring and a certain aura of sophistication.

Fluoro-enhanced prints snaked up and down shirts and trousers, a cockatiel had his full blown portrait on a loose-fitting knit sweater, a gorgeous chiffon maxi dress featured a colorful tile print of blue, white, and orange. Little details makes for a tactile collection that one wants to run their fingers on, like the black embroidery highlighting the edges of every eyelet on a top. A lick of pastel bayadère here, black and white stripes there, the graphic trend that has been ubiquitous was given a soft-focus treatment that is easy on the eye.

The zinnia print Albou created offsets white with warm splashes of orange and pink, shot with green. Vaguely reminiscent of Stella McCartney’s lemons for spring 2011, they still carry their own appeal and create a zany piping on perfect trousers.

This collection goes to show that when life gives you Hawaii, you can make what you will of it.

- Lily Templeton