Claire Stemen likes to think and write about fashion as a vital form of communication. She loves clothing and the way we style ourselves, despite always buying the same black turtleneck over and over again. You can find her on Instagram @claire_stemen, or or at clairestemen.com.

Sophie Mechaly: Childhood’s End

Paul & Joe’s spring prêt-à-porter show seemed sinister at first, red overhead lights pooling over the audience, but it proved to be just as much fun as the looks Sophie Mechaly — the founder and designer of the brand — usually sends down the runway.

The brand’s namesake being Sophie’s two sons, Paul & Joe, the new looks are just as boyish as their inspiration. Spirited suits in bold pinstripe, with deep v-cut necklines, and all in denim — a fabric obsession this season. Cravats in cat — or striped patterns with accompanying broaches — brought a certain whimsy to traditional business wear.

The new looks are just as boyish as their inspiration.

The Collection

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Fur accents — also incredibly popular this season — topped the collars of dresses and, of course, fur coats made an appearance as well, although in lighthearted retro stripes or a shade of slate.

Childish accents of various star and cat patterns, heart keychains hung on belts (watch out, purse poofs), and the stripes of our first-grade yesteryear seemed to be the motifs running through the collection. The decidedly schoolgirl-esque shapes made me reconsider the merit of school uniforms (almost).

One thing in the collection was clear: Mechaly is a master colorist. When Mechaly gets colorful, she gets “Matisse” colorful; it’s as though one is seeing color for the first time. And her ability to pair vivid color and playful patterns in a way that works is masterful.

When Mechaly gets colorful, she gets “Matisse” colorful.

Mechaly offers us childish sophistication, a seemingly oxymoronic concept, and ’60s inspired garments with modern idiosyncrasies. In an industry saturated with exclusivity, Mechaly reminded us that fashion doesn’t always have to be so serious, or mature … even if the real Paul and Joe are all grown up now.

Mechaly reminded us that fashion doesn’t always have to be so serious.

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With love,

FWO