For his 82nd show, Sir Paul Smith was in his element, focusing on the season’s big message, tailoring, a category he’s religiously stuck by throughout the whole streetwear phenomenon. “I’ve never not done tailoring, every one of my shows has had tailoring in it. I’ve always nudged it in,” the designer said backstage.
Here it hogged the limelight, with a run of very of-the-now, super Eighties, boxy silhouettes playing with proportions and colors, like the three-button suit and the ultra oversize, large and long double-breasted that he layered over looks like an outerwear piece. Folding in the odd hi-tech material, it was all worked in a beautiful color palette that made it really Paul Smith, juxtaposing neutral tones and daring monochromatic colors, including total looks of bright yellow, pink or cobalt blue.
Dubbed “Collage” in homage to the designer’s first trip to New York in the Seventies — “a time where a few of the uptown galleries, like Leo Castelli, OK Harris and Pace, were opening downtown” — the collection mixed technical and classic fabrics and a sprinkling of collage prints.
“People like [Willem] de Kooning and [Andy] Warhol and [Robert] Rauschenberg were starting to play with cutting stuff up, silk screens, stencils, photocopying,” Smith said. “And a lot of those guys used to wear suits to paint in, it was like a scruffy artist uniform.”
Summery shirts and dresses for women were worked in a silky satin printed with big blooms, evoking photo negatives, some overdyed in Pop Art-style colors. The women’s wardrobe mirrored the men’s, the proportions tweaked slightly shorter and the double-breasted styles slightly feminized, offering a new take on the power look.
The sleek rock ’n’ roll attitude was cemented in the soft leather pieces, including the terrific closing look: a plain black shiny leather silhouette comprised of a military short jacket over shirt and pants.
Sitting on an impressive legacy — next year will mark the 50th anniversary of his brand — Smith proved he still has it with this collection, which felt super elegant and timeless.