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Caroline Hu describes her design philosophy, charmingly, as “creating a delicate path between romanticism and pandemonium.” Her aesthetic may manifest differently depending on geography and headspace, but finally being able to walk through the streets of Paris put her in a sentimental, sprung-free frame of mind. “It touched me more than I imagined when I saw falling leaves and petals,” the designer said during her presentation this week at the Galerie Hussenot in the Marais. “There's a sense that all will pass, yet everything will return.”

In Shanghai, Hu and her team channeled that sense of release into poetic dresses with large, periwinkle blooms sandwiched between layers of pale beige tulle, or dark hand-crocheted buds strewn over a hot pink knit dress. Some pieces were shown under a cloche-like shell intricately woven from plastic lanyard thread. Those were more about artistry than practicality, but for Hu they represent an expression of hope. Though not immediately obvious, flowers also informed a column dress with a blurred abstract print developed from photographs many times enlarged; that was shown with a cloud-like shoulder piece spun from fishing line and flecks of fuchsia silk.

Hu’s process is more painterly than designer-y: she admits to following her instinct without a specific end customer in mind. Regardless, she’s obviously doing something right: her romantic, and intricately hand-smocked, -pleated, and -draped pieces, styled here with combat boots, have lately caught the attention of clients in the US and the Middle East. Next season she’ll be joining the official PFW calendar. She has every reason to stick to her own path, and to be proud of herself.