Paris Menswear July 06

PARIS, July 2, 2006 - The models came down the catwalk at the Paul Smith show Sunday afternoon two by two, two reflections of genetic perfection, two boys looking as if they were strangely paired one to the other. Had it been Gaultier, it would have been a spoof on same-sex marriage. Had it been Dolce Gabanna, it would have been a play on homo-eroticism. But this was Paul Smith, at heart decidedly reserved and British, yet capable of providing a little extra splash.

It wasn't until after the show backstage that Smith explained that his models were all brothers. "It was just summer," he said by way of summing up his show. "Nothing special."

The pieces may have had less flash this season, grounded as they were in a subtle palette of pastel and sorbet colors, but it all worked. Crushed jackets, crisp shirts, white trousers, a sprinkling of suede here and there, all combined to create a relaxed elegance that never looked fussy. The subtle workmanship and tailored finesse of this collection could serve as a role model for any number of French luxury labels. The beautiful floral print shirts could only have been topped by the finale of swim wear, which had the brothers down to their bare essentials and looking as if they were more than ready to dive into the water off some imaginary Greek island called Philadelph.

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