Don’t read too much into the “outdoor exploration” theme Paul Smith assigned to his sprightly spring men’s wear collection.
“It’s not about hunting, shooting and fishing. It’s more about, ‘At last we’re out!'” he said, expressing that universal yearning for fresh air and open spaces after extended periods of sheltering in place.
Tourists of yore — including the era of leisure suits — came to mind viewing the shirt jackets, blousons and safari styles matched to Bermudas or pleated pants, and accessorized with sun hats and cross-body bags.
In fact, Smith was just showing that a suit can now be composed of many different elements. He coined the term “new working wardrobe” for tailored items done in a range of fine Italian fabrics, color unifying the top and bottom pieces.
And my, what colors! Smith has a vacation home in Lucca, Italy, and he borrowed the shades of Tuscan terracotta, the Mediterranean sky and those dramatic summer sunsets, giving his lineup a summery spirit. Bold sunflower prints looked great on camp shirts.
When Smith started out in men’s wear, stripes for men came in navy and white, burgundy and white and not much else. He’s pioneered multicolored stripes and they looked terrific here as a snug scuba top or a slouchy sweater with the ease of a sweatshirt.
The designer also employed stripes from vintage tents for a collaboration on nylon bags with Japanese luggage-maker Porter.
Smith’s creative video had models whisking across an indoor runway set consisting of an undulating ceiling and a speckled floor resembling a vintage Formica kitchen table. But do take these smart and cheerful clothes out for a stroll.