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Paul Smith’s Change of Tune

Sir Paul gives himself “a kick up the backside.”

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Appeared In
Special Issue
Menswear issue 01/17/2011

The collection is linked to music and musicians—and not just how they dress onstage but what they wear on the road, too. It’s lads on the road, traveling around the country,” says Sir Paul Smith, who’s been dressing rock royalty—including David Bowie, Mick Jagger, David Byrne, Mick Hucknall and the boys from Franz Ferdinand—on and off for nearly five decades.

This story first appeared in the January 17, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

 

To wit: The fall 2011 collection, set to debut during Paris Fashion Week, features a “crazy, hairy coat” that’s fashioned from fake fur and a duvet coat stuffed with “twice the amount of feathers as usual,” says Smith. For those rockers who favor a cleaner, more tailored look, Smith has whipped up a double-breasted overcoat with buttons that run up to the neck. For indoor play, there are skinny trousers paired with chunky knits—“That look is very Ramones,” the designer says—and cardigan jackets worn with slim shirts with small collars. Smith used a variety of tactile fabrics and yarns, including mohair, cashmere and cashmere-wool blends, the latter of which have been spun into everything from 28-gauge knits to heavy sweaters with a hand-knit feel.

 

This season’s colors, he says, are “deep and rich, with lots of gray, black, navy, damson and dark green.” Over the past few seasons, Smith has been moving away from the tweeds, oversize plaids and prints that once characterized his collections, and toward more sophisticated silhouettes in solid colors. “I wanted to give myself a kick up the backside and make these collections more modern, so I’ve been using more fine, luxurious fabrics and single-color, muted linings for the jackets—and less pattern and print,” he says. According to Smith, the shift in direction has already proved a winner, with his men’s collections delivering big sell-throughs. He says there have been “substantial” preorders for this winter 2011 collection on the basis of sketches and fabrics alone.

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