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Friday, February 23, 2024

Paul Smith – Iridescent and archival Mods

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Welcome to the new suit chez Paul Smith, as the British designer rifled through archives in a collection ranging from Mod to military in his latest show staged on a sunny Friday morning in Paris.

Paul Smith – Spring-Summer2024 – Menswear – Paris – © ImaxTree

Coming out of two years of casual Covid dressing, Sir Paul wants to dress young men classically, but never rigidly. So, he cut trousers wide, created suits with cargo pants, and sent out unconstructed jackets with military influences and no padding. Trousers even have stirrups at the bottom to sharpen the line. Other pants have little Vs at the back to lengthen the look.  
 
“I’ve been thinking about the suit in a different way. The poor old suit has quite a bad image. Everyone thinks it is for a wedding, funeral or job interview. It isn’t. If you’re 24 or an actor or on the red carpet, then why not go for a suit,” mused Sir Paul post show.

In effect, Smith seems on the third stage of a long cycle. Taking his styles and silhouettes from the 60s, which he revived in the 90s and now sees as contemporary today.
 
What sets him apart is his novel and refreshed take on tailoring and an astute use of fabrics – frequently British.
 
A whole blend of UK materials, including alfresco wool, tonic, iridescence and the sense of Mods in 60s mohair. Along with a dash of humor, a couple of models looked like they had forgotten to put their pants on.

Paul Smith – Spring-Summer2024 – Menswear – Paris – © ImaxTree

Though the best effect was a trio of pants and waistcoats in a Venetian blind effect.
 
“I got that one morning lying in bed in my villa admiring the light filtering into the bedroom, and caught it on my phone,” smiled Smith, recalling a morning in his Tuscan estate.
 
Blending work-wear jackets in tonic mohair, military gear in iridescent wools, and messenger coats, used formerly on military motorbikes, where pockets are cut at odd diagonal angles the better to extract letters and arms.
 
Staged inside an old atelier at the back of the Gare de Lyon, the show climaxed with a great photoshop mash up black and white shirt, made by taking photos of old prints, all culled from his extensive archive of over 3,000 looks. And a dynamic photoshop collage print trench, on which  abstract daubs were hand painted.
 
Nobody loves a bow more than Paul who strolled out – in a blue windowpane check suit – among the models, and mocked throwing alms as a gift.
 
 

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