paul smith autumn/winter 15
There's no one quite like Paul Smith, we talk to the designer about his autumn/winter 15 show.
There are few designers on the London schedule, perhaps just one or two, that have the experience and confidence of Sir Paul Smith. You arrive knowing you're going to see beautiful clothes, that you want to wear, in assuredly quality fabrics. The collection will be exquisitely designed, sourced and made by a man with perfect taste.
For autumn/ winter 15, there was a blink at the 70s in the shearling, boots and hippy type yellow and a firm nod to the modern masculine silhouette in slouchy suits worn with trainers, but you'd be a fool to get caught up in the syntax of things. "The main thing", Sir Paul told i-D, "is that there isn't really a strong theme. When you do themes, sometimes it works and it's important… but sometimes it's just about making nice clothes." Well, there lies the difference between the new blood of London Fashion Week - who are desperate to reference and reference up, to prove their point and point out their journey - and Paul Smith, who really doesn't need to go on about specific themes or references because he's at a stage where he can just make nice clothes and not dress it up. "The colour was more Rothko than Matisse", he said, referring to the pink and yellow Battenberg interjections in an otherwise muted-palette collection. "I mean, that's not really true", he continued wryly, "but you know what I mean." There were off-piste buttons and asymmetric pockets, for asymmetric items on decisive and strong silhouettes. "Some of the fabrics, which obviously you can't see on the catwalk, are very… beefy's the wrong word… and it won't mean anything to you… but they're very compact".
A strong suit is Sir Paul's strong suit, "that's one thing I know about", he says much too humbly. "What pad stitching does to a lapel and how you put in a sleeve roll". His wife, Pauline, who studied as a fashion designer at the Royal College of Art, is his favourite woman in a suit, "she really understands how to build clothes". To finish, he pulls a tiny white rabbit figure out of his trouserpocket - he wasn't wearing a hat - that Pauline bought him for good luck. Whatever his secret, it works every time.
Text Sarah Raphael