There’s a new Prince of Persia and he’s a British knight. On Sunday afternoon in Paris, Sir Paul Smith blew the roof off a Parisian stock exchange decked out in Persian carpets with a show devoted to the bohemian rock star wardrobe of Jim Morrison.
Why did you base your collection on Jim Morrison?
I think he was very powerful as a style icon. I think it’s time to move away from that very perfect look we’ve had. It’s still important. We still have it in other collections. But around the world people are looking for something stronger and a little bit more powerful from a runway collection, so that’s what we did.
How did you approach the rock ‘n’ roll references?
Since the age of eighteen I was working with bands. Unfortunately I’m old enough to have worked with Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. I made those big white trousers for Bowie in the 80s. So a lot of the references and styles are absolutely honest ones from my career.
There was a sense of ease to the collection.
It was a lot softer, a lot less structured. In my London line you get the structure, you get the slim silhouette, you still get the slicker suit, and then for this collection it was cashmere, angora, silk wool, lightweight wool, silkier silks, so it was very liquid. But, you know, rock stars like to be comfortable. It’s very much about being comfortable.
Where did all the textiles come from?
They’re exclusive to us. More or less the whole collection is specially woven, specially created.
Jim Morrison lived on the West Coast of America so all those hotels they have neon signs with palm trees, flamingos, animals, so it was very much about the reference to the West Coast.
How did the Persian carpets enter into the collection?
The interesting thing is that the carpets are actually beautiful carpets from a Persian carpet shop in London, and some of them take twenty-five years to make so it’s very much about a reference, not necessarily to carpets, but to artisan. In this homogenised world, let’s please try and do things still to do with hands. Those fabrics are all hand-jacquard, some hand-knits and everything.