"It started with coral and just grew," he says. Octopus pillows, sea horse towels, crab plates—they've landed in coastal homes like beautiful maritime oddities left by a receding tide. He almost singlehandedly returned vintage renderings of fish and fauna back to the public imagination. But he has a way of making the old new again with fresh colors and off-center framing.
Paul's menagerie sprang from natural history illustrations he found at New York flea markets. The hand-drawn forms had seductive appeal to a generation raised on mass-produced goods. "Most designers don't draw things anymore," he says. "So there's a certain power to the one-of-a-kind." —Michael Cannell