Paul Smith: it’s about living together
On a weekend that women marched in force throughout America, protesting, in part, what they perceived to be the sexism of the Trump administration, it was instructive to attend a runway show in Paris by Paul Smith.
Because, the fashionable knight created a finely tailored collection where the fabrics, styling and even cuts were highly similar for both men and women. Call it a fashionable convergence.
His favorite shared fabric – a Pacific blue lambskin used in rockabilly coats for men and mini blouson for the ladies. Or a great looking blood red micro check made for similarly cut suits for guys and gals. Or petrol blue wool mannish suits for the ladies and, in the same fabric, gents dusters for their male escort.
Sometimes Smith's models were even offered practically matching looks: a fantastic cashmere blend midnight blue belted topcoats with deep patch pockets; though the gentleman’s version was finished with a funnel neck.
“I wear a suit every day and have done for 100 years, but wanted to play with tailoring again – mixing patterns with lots of British fabrics. Very modern woman and man with no stretch needed. I wanted a very focused show, I know what I am after doing it for 40 years, I’m afraid. And I have always liked the androgynous look of a woman in my men’s suit. And as lots of our customers are architects, graphic art artists and photographers they are in good shape and quite boyish looking so what I do seems to work!” smiled Sir Paul backstage in the Cité de la Mode et du Design in the 13th arrondissement.
Smith also broke a lot of subtle new ground: raising the buttoning and lapels of his double breasted jackets, even as he dropped the buttons of his single breasted suits. Plus, he cut his blazers longer in the front than the back. For women, he cut with new darts, in a softer shape with no padding and no inter-lining.
Yet, despite the fashionable egalitarianism, Sir Paul will always love a male dandy; best exemplified by a bright turquoise redingote and matching pant. Ideal for rock star album cover, less so for a political rally.
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