Paul Smith is a shopkeeper to the core and will still be in one of his London stores for the better part of a Saturday, keeping abreast of what his customers want and want. “As you know, we philosophize about our collections and say they’re inspired by this trip or that artist or whatever,” the designer explained. “But customers aren’t looking for a philosophy, they’re looking for a philosophy. They might say ‘I need a new jacket for this reason,’ or ‘I’m looking for something I don’t have in my closet,’ or ‘I’d like Something that’s easy to wear and looks good.’”
That’s not to say there wasn’t an interdisciplinary spiel behind the womenswear collection—news reports said it was “modernist architecture”— But Smith prefers to focus on the down-to-earth charm of his ensemble, as we see through them together. He bet big on monochrome houndstooth check suits with strong shoulders, bootcut trousers, high-skirted jackets, and double-breasted asymmetrical double-breasted with an interesting twist. He had reason to think that the high satin jacket and black skirt with a ragged hem were actually a relaxed variation on Le Smoking.
womenswear accounts for approximately 25% of Smith’s sales, and the eco-consciousness of recycled materials and wool that make up the majority of the collection, and a creative sustainable Reason, inherited from menswear in a variety of fabrics. These included rug-inspired jacquard jacquards and pleated checks, as well as fresh variations on the Mulberry bag collaboration that first debuted at his menswear show in January. Beaded lavender cardigan-knit tracksuits, draped silk dresses, and shirtdresses were specific to women, as were pink silk blouses with a buttonable slash on each sleeve. “Ultimately people want clothes that are attractive, fun and easy to wear,” Smith said. He is not wrong.