In a season when people are talking about a return to tailoring, Paul Smith chose his moment to launch a new line of men's suiting, shirts, coats, and brogues rescaled to fit girls. Men Only, as it's ironically called, was inspired by a line of Katharine Hepburn's: "A woman can't always do what she needs in stockings." What a woman needs was clear from the first look: an easily cut brown pantsuit with a blue-and-white striped shirt, beige cardigan, and loafers.
The idea of Smith making a seasonal return to tailoring is a bit laughable, of course, because it's been the bedrock of his business for decades. Making well-cut jackets and trousers is a fine art that isn't learned overnight, and Smith is a man who knows what he's doing. Close up, the detail he lavishes on such things as linings and cuffs makes this collection a delightful and trusty resource for everyday pieces. The show might have played this trump card a bit more strongly, though. In the end, the emphasis was skewed more toward Smith's eternally soft spot for a sexy bluestocking. Flocks of girls in glasses, wearing panne velvet polka-dot dresses and other vintage-inspired frocks overwhelmed the tailoring. But never mind, it's nice to know it's there.