How do you know you've made it as a designer? Here's an interesting thought
experiment for up-and-comers: On an off day, are you still selling clothes?
Sir Paul Smith has incontrovertibly made it, and the proof is that, despite
the fact that his new collection represented something of an off day for the
Paul Smith brand, there were still more than a handful of looks at today's
show that were readily desirable. Paul Smith at status quo does just fine,
and it's to Smith's credit, really, that he continues to experiment.
First, the good. Smith sent out his usual complement of natty
menswear-inspired looks; alongside the predictably charming boy-cut trousers
and jackets, there was a new winning silhouette in wide-leg pants cropped a
little bit short and worn with a matching long coat. Smith executed the
look in a gray checked wool that he set off with elegant black trim.
Elsewhere, there were pretty painterly prints, punchy knits, a smattering of
pajama-inspired pieces, and a few evening looks overlaid in mesh, all nice.
Smith was on shakier ground with his velvets: Some of the simpler looks were
good, if unremarkable, but the velvet-faced leggings with long back zips
were a bit off. And a few of his artsy pieces, like a gray suit that looked
as though it had been sprayed in neon paint, only generated a kind of "hm?"
response. All in all, this show made for something of a disappointment after
several solid seasons from Paul Smith, but there was still plenty to like.