Tailored clothing is flying out the door at Paul Smith, but it’s not the old stuff. “Tailoring isn’t what it used to be. Men are rethinking the way they put things together,” said Smith, who staged his first live show after more than two years.
More than any designer, Smith knows what his clients are buying because he’s still the Saturday boy, working on the shop floor of his Mayfair store on Albemarle Street. Where other designers and brands pore over data, Smith (on weekends at least) is able to look straight into the shopping basket.
For spring, he’s delivered even more tailoring, along with loads of soft, pastel colors and easy-to-layer shapes. For the colors and patterns, he drew on his own memories of wandering around art galleries in the 1980s, and said he wanted the whole look to be “fresh, light, easy to wear and to add to your existing wardrobe.”
Shirts were untucked, and loose layers abounded: Smith’s take on a three-piece suit was a roomy pistachio jacket with matching trousers and a breezy v-neck shirt underneath.
A mauve suit came with its tailored jacket tied at the waist, while a checked one was paired with shorts, rather than trousers. Another suit with a long jacket was made from pastel striped men’s shirting, and was full of the joys of spring.
The artwork burst through with spray-paint smudges in pink and neon green on knits; trenches awash in dark flower prints, and suits with long, blurred stripes down the front recalling Gerhard Richter’s paintings from the era.
Smith, who’s always had a thing for bright color, pattern, and tailoring, is clearly in his element here, and besides, who’s to argue with the man on the shop floor?