A Story of Contrasts & Commerciality by Paul Smith for S/S’13

by Katie on September 18, 2012

Paul Smith is one of the elder statesmen of London Fashion Week, having started his eponymous menswear label in 1976. Smith has an innate understanding of both clothing design and retail, and his collections are usually informed by his love of iconic British design and bespoke tailoring, albeit with that now-standard Paul Smith twist.

Smith moved into womenswear in 1998 which, like his menswear collections, usually riffs on recognisable Paul Smith signatures, such as his use of stripes and traditional tailoring techniques.

The Paul Smith Spring/Summer 2013 collection is no different, the foundation of masculine suiting jazzed up by a bold palette offset with nudes and neutrals, and some tricksy cutting, resulting in some wide vertically-striped pants cropped just above the ankle in black, forest, ivory, and navy, or a patchwork of lace, sheer, sheeny satin and matte on a covetable (by Katie) slouchy top.

These contrasts are what drives the collection; the masculine versus the feminine; panels of varying degrees of opacity; floral bursts on colour-blocked blouses. Even a flowing handkerchief hem dress feels like a witty play on a men’s pocket square at second glance.
A lot of this is far from new, yet was presented with such unerring confidence that it’s hard to take offence with any of it, bar some horizontally-striped looks near the end which were brutally unforgiving on the models, meaning your standard-sized woman wouldn’t stand a hope.

Quintessentially Paul Smith, this collection utilises elements from both the brand’s back catalogue and recent trends to commercial effect. This is Big Business, and whilst lovers of huge statement directional fashion might have left disappointed, the acres of buyers in attendance won’t have been.

Review written by Lee Clatworthy (@TeamChutzpah) for Katie Chutzpah blog.
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