Paul Smith at Paris Fashion Week Men’s S/S 2019
Mood board: The affable British designer was spotted riding his bike through the streets of Paris a day before his co-ed show – his cheery vitality is what keeps us coming back. His S/S 2019 collection was influenced by the photographic printing techniques he learned as a child. Propped up against the wall in Smith’s busy London office is a picture of him at the age of 13 flying on a magic carpet over Brighton Pavilion. In reality he was sitting on a rug placed over wooden fruit and veg boxes installed in his back garden. Smith’s father Harold was a founding member of the local camera club and taught his son how to process film in a makeshift darkroom in the attic. He was interested in trick photography too. The collection features many of their images applied to outerwear.
Best in show: In the course of Smith’s career, tailoring has gone through monumental changes. S/S 2019 looked at suits synonymous with British style and subculture. ‘In the eighties I was involved in the softening of the suit where once stiff fabrics and shapes were suddenly relaxed. It feels like something similar is happening today – many people are talking about a move towards sportswear and a relaxation of dress codes but I’m still passionate about suits,’ Smith said. The collection focused on suits for both men and women. An oversized two-button blazer in lavender cotton was worn with black wide-leg technical pants. A wide-leg wool suit in windowpane check was worn with a polka dot cycle jersey. Jackets and trousers were mismatched.
Sound bite: Smith’s joie de vivre flows through everything he does. ‘I’ve used photographs both from my own collection and from my dad’s archive and used very innovative production techniques to print them onto nylon coats, cotton dresses and accessories,’ he said. ‘I take photos every day of my life, they are a constant source of inspiration both for me and my team.’