Theallet channels the elegance of her mother

JOCELYN NOVECK Associated Press Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- Sophie Theallet was looking at a photo album not long ago and happened on a snapshot of her mother, back in France decades ago, in apres-ski attire.

It inspired her current collection of fall and winter clothes. "I just wanted to recreate that easy elegance that she had in that photo, that sophistication but also practicality," Theallet said after her runway show Tuesday.

Theallet is known not for being flamboyant -- she isn't -- or overly dramatic or complex in her choices. Instead, she simply makes truly pretty clothes, season after season.

This season is no exception. Theallet began her show with a couple of elegant wool coats -- not oversized or boxy or futuristic, as many designers have shown this season, but sleek and tailored.

She moved into silky skirts and dresses, including an eye-catching, one-shouldered gray frock with a colorful print peeking out from a slit in the front. Some had a print of petals or leaves, either alone or covered by a sheer layer.

Many of Theallet's skirts were paired with sweaters -- not a surprise, since she is known for them, having won a prestigious prize last year honoring excellence in knitwear. "I thought I should play to my strengths," she said with a smile.

Theallet is from France but lives now in New York. She set up her own studio here in 2007 after working for both Jean Paul Gaultier and Azzedine Alaia.

Especially appealing were Theallet's sleeveless sweaters -- paired with soft, flouncy, feminine skirts -- and a series of long and flowing dresses, a few of them backless with pretty and unusual strap details.