The gentlewomen of Paul Smith took to the runway during London Fashion Week that marked the determined change of direction by way of rediscovering the designer’s own roots.
The collection pays homage to the idea of handsome women of the ’70s and ’80s, and draws on the wardrobe of Paul’s wife, Pauline Deyner Smith. With nods to New Romance, the collection represents the authoritative and sophisticated femininity originally created for the men’s collection, as well as a reinterpretation of the techniques and trademarks in the early years of his career, when he would elevate the standard materials by applying intricate decoration and surprise elements.
Kitschy eaten apple motifs pay homage to the classic Paul Smith photo print from 1982, epitomising his signature elevation of everyday elements, while corresponding to the instinctive sense of humour often seen in his work. Whereas a faintly psychedelic floral and deconstructed paisley make up the collection’s core print, further broken up and reused in other techniques seen throughout the season’s series.
Tailoring reworks sartorial icons and weaves in the Paul Smith stripe, while bicycle breeches found in his personal wardrobe are elongated for elegance. Formal coats are redesigned with raglan sleeves for a rounded shoulder and stronger silhouette, while classic shift dresses are readdressed through colour and embroidery without discounting on the tailored structure.
The highlights in the accessories line are the Concertina bag, emblazoned with floral patches echoing that of the scarves, and the cast-iron facade seen on Paul Smith’s shop along Albemarle Street, embossed into the leather of the No. 9. All bags are reworked with new locks, taken from an old Paul Smith briefcase. Besides that, shoes with boxy bows evoke the men’s opera shoes of the Jazz Age, while jewellery in gold metal and semi-precious stones with silver refer back to the fruit them of the collection.