Live from Paris … it was the Paul Smith show.
The British designer has always been chatty — and a great entertainer — but this season he took it up a notch and staged a “Saturday Night Live”-style show at his splendid Paris headquarters, where he painted the rooms — and even scented them — to jibe with the collection’s Tuscan countryside theme.
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Before the intimate runway presentation began, there was a performance by the London-based soul singer Anaïs (who also appears in the brand’s upcoming ad campaign). Smith followed it up with a running commentary on a selection of 12 looks from the collection.
He strolled around the bright blue show space, pointing out a wrinkle-free fabric here, a sunflower print there, and the many cycling jersey inspirations in the bright and bold collection.
The designer said he was looking to merge the stay-at-home clothing that people were accustomed to wearing during lockdown with “more considered” pieces fit for work, the outdoors and life beyond the living room sofa.
There was lots of mannish tailoring (as always) and the looks were practical, and eco-conscious, as well: Smith worked a lightweight “cool” wool into an azure safari jacket with an elasticated waist, and a new trouser shape that has a wider leg and fits snugly at the hip.
He used fully traceable fabrics for wrinkle-free suits and dresses with a check pattern, and slipped printed, cycling jersey-style tops under sweaters. Sunflowers — which surround his Tuscan home — popped on fluid tops and skirts, while a jazzy, summery colored chevron pattern climbed up a pair of trousers.
The chevrons echoed the stripes on the long, sleeveless dress that Anaïs was wearing for her passionate pre-show performance.
At the end of the set Smith thanked her, touted her upcoming album, which is out in September, and with typical understatement, declared that her performance wasn’t bad at all. It just wouldn’t have been the same on Zoom.
Launch Gallery: Paul Smith RTW Spring 2022