“I just think the world is getting so similar and reliant on logos and the Internet. When I started out, it was all about self expression from how you looked,” said Paul Smith, explaining how he would find a lovely old regiment or riding jacket, “Or an uncle’s sport coat, and put it with something that you already had, and that was your individual look.”
The starting point in his outerwear-heavy stand against “the kit form that’s happening everywhere in the world” was a small collection of Victorian-era riding jackets he found at a country market.
He then mixed in punk gestures, like red faux python pants snaking with zips, but also in the sense of “including things that were to do with inventions by everyday people,” such as a short black leather kilt layered over pants on one of the women’s looks, or the long shirts poking out from under jackets.
The designer also clashed silk-screen prints mashing elements of a Dutch Old Master mixed with a vintage i-D cover with a country check traditionally used for the linings of riding jackets and horse blankets. The latter worked great as an update on his elegant suits.
“One of the first things I did in my life was silk-screen printing, T-shirts, working with people like The Who,” said Smith, who in his nostalgic revisiting of good old self expression also tossed in neon yellow turtlenecks for the base layers, with colored fake fur chapkas punctuating looks.