The London men’s shows have been very much about opposite ends of the scale: the hallowed houses of Savile Row and the new generation of designers challenging every aspect of what defines menswear. For Paul Smith, the quintessential English gentleman has always had an air of the unconventional, and his British Collection presentation of finer suiting at the Hauser & Wirth gallery on Savile Row (“they’re friends of the house,” Sir Paul told us) underscored Smith’s talent for doing traditional in an untraditional way.
“A suit is quite a difficult thing because you can only nudge it – you can’t really shove it,” he told us. “So the idea here was really to work from the fabric, creating simple shapes using fabric that was based on a windowpane or a pinstripe, but expanding the check or putting colour into the pinstripe.”
The fabrics were a result of a bespoke collaboration with Yorkshire’s Clissold mill, which dates back to 1910. From dark colour blocking to subtle polka dot specks and herringbone manipulated to look like the Union Jack, the fabrics were shown across giant screens propped up behind the elegant suits that lined the walls, creating what Smith fittingly called ‘wearable with a point of view’.