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Paul Smith Menswear A/W12

The English designer ended up taking influences from the sea with ocean paraphernalia and nautical uniforms ruling the collection

Just as his collections are high octane moments of energy, Paul Smith himself is an animated force to be reckoned with. His joy and excitement spreads through the crowds, his staff always seem to be smiling and the press - even though tired after a week of Milan and Paris shows - enjoy the brief post-show chitchat. Also, in the actual show venue, there is a sense of enthusiasm; a Paul Smith show is always fast paced. The A/W12 collection was no exception.

"The neon colours were punctuation marks to give the navy and black colours a rest..."

This time around the inspiration came from the sea, nautical uniforms and ocean animals. Against the backdrop of a massive painting of high waves (also transferred onto nylon sweatshirts as a print) we saw navy pea coats, anchor patterns and fish prints. Sir Paul Smith even squeezed in a shark teeth print. So there were many obvious references to the ocean but a few garments had a slightly more vague connection. Black leather sleeves featurd heavily on navy coats. Throughout, Smith put neon coloured tops underneath his knitwear and flourescent details on his coats. But when jellyfish prints in the same colourways started apperaring it all made sense. Although black, navy and grey were the main colours, forming the backbone of the collection, it was these colour injections that gave the show personality. 

Dazed Digital: So, nautical theme, right?
Paul Smith:
I just like that dark and rich colour, navy blue! The music was fun and dramatic, it came from 'The Waterfront' by Marlon Brando. We mixed dark green with navy blue, and a bit of colour as usual. The silhoutte was slim, very luxurious fabrics...

DD: A few colours were very strong though, flourrescent neons and so on...
Paul Smith:
The neon colours were punctuation marks to give the navy and black colours a rest...

DD: What was the idea behind the prints?
Paul Smith:
There was jellyfish from under the sea, shark teeth and the sea waves. It wasn't actually meant to be so much about the sea, we just started enjoying the colour dark blue.