Picking up on the inspiration he found in New Wave, Jean-Luc Godard and David Lynch art house films for his men’s fall collection, Paul Smith mixed blurry psychedelic prints, patterned velvet and corduroy into his women’s tailoring oeuvre, and brought in enough comfort touches to satisfy the still-working-from-home set.
“It’s very much based on a feminine way of masculinity,” the charmingly chipper designer shared during a preview, highlighting a deep blue suit with a high-waisted kick flare trouser and a long line double-breasted blazer as an example of a look that crossed over from the men’s collection. (He was particularly proud of the shoulders with half-moon-shaped padding because they achieved definition without too much bulk.)
Tonal color and pattern appeared throughout, as on a fun emerald green and blue ditzy twilight floral shirt and corduroy pants. A silk shirt, combined with a side-draped silk front tailored skirt came in a groovy “solarized print” intentionally blurred to cinematic effect, while a mohair boyfriend sweater in a bold zigzag was taken from a floor in David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” film. How’s that for a specific detail?
Meanwhile, a black and purple stretch zigzag patterned zip-front jacket, turtle neck and flares, as well as cycling-inspired tops and dresses worked with the house stripes were made to move (or lounge).
Smith began designing womenswear 25 years ago after Grace Coddington started wearing his men’s suits, he recalled, musing about the gender fluidity seen on the runway at Gucci and elsewhere today. Still, he’s committed to showing the men’s and women’s collections separately. “I understand it, and I have no problem with it,” he said when asked about the blurring of genders on the runway. “But it’s not really something for the Paul Smith brand. I’m a normal guy, I’m not really fashion. If you are fashion, it’s very relevant. We’re still a small, independently owned company and I am a realist, and for me, it just works to do things from [the heart].”