When John Smedley 2nd made his first-ever trip to Japan in the Twenties, he kept a diary in which he sketched and painted all of the flora and fauna he saw on his travels. This travel journal provided the fruit of inspiration for the John Smedley design team, which presented an optimistic collection for spring, confidently making its first foray into tailoring at its debut runway show during London Fashion Week Men’s.

A charming little watercolor of a koi fish was the key motif throughout both the men’s and women’s collections that were shown, appearing in shirts, embroidered on collars, printed on linings and dresses. There was also a fluid wave pattern with Hokusai overtones, which appeared in fully knitted suits, a first for the brand and well executed.

It was especially nice to see a first tailoring effort that didn’t err on the side of safety. Sure there were sensible navy options, but the standouts were the completely patterned trousers in blue and white or navy and red that came paired with collarless blazers with a band of the same print at the hem. Way more fun.

The palette of cobalt, navy, watermelon, khaki and acid yellow looked great in the natural light of the Jermyn Street outdoor catwalk space — just down the road from the brand’s year-old store. The women’s wear was just as nice, also edging forward with ideas, with a koi-print silk dress an elegant example of the brand’s first departure from knitted garments, and flattering wrap details that looked sophisticated in simple long-sleeve T-shirts and one alluring dress with a deep V-neck.


See More From the London 2018 Men’s Spring Collections:

Stella McCartney Screens Men’s Wear Short Film at 16th-century Pub: Steven Tyler, Steve Coogan were among the guests at the Tudor-era watering hole.

Charles Jeffrey Men’s Spring 2018: A riotous cast of characters, unified in their theatricality and Jeffrey’s joyous treatment of his theme: debauchery.

Cottweiler feat. Reebok Men’s Spring 2018: Dainty and Cottrell looked to the optimism and escapism of off-grid desert communities for spring.

What We Wear Men’s Spring 2018:  Tinie Tempah fused the brand’s minimalist aesthetic with a sportier one for spring.

Wales Bonner Men’s Spring 2018: This focused yet subdued collection saw Grace Wales Bonner musing on a “blue mood.”

Christopher Raeburn Men’s Spring 2018: There was a lightness and transparency to Christopher Raeburn’s signature practical silhouettes.