There's no point mincing words: This was a seriously weird Paul Smith show. Sir Paul seemed to take a "see what sticks" approach to his womenswear this season, throwing a plethora of ideas at the figurative wall. The ideas themselves bore no self-evident relationship to one another, with each concept working well in a few cases but not in many others. For instance, Melissa Tammerijn looked pretty terrific in a pair of lean, cobalt blue, geometric-print pants; that was the first and last time Smith had a hit with the blue print. Yet his success rate was way higher with the same print in fiery red: It came off well in a short, fitted minidress, and made for a high-impact bonded lining to a mannish black overcoat. You had to wonder: What was going on here? The same logic, or lack thereof, applied to the fluttery detail on numerous silk blouses, and to the shiny looks embossed with architectural scenery. It was interesting to see Smith experiment with technical materials and new print processes and silhouettes, and some of his architectural pieces had a lot of charm. But as a whole, they didn't seem to fit into the Paul Smith idiom at all.
Naturally, Smith was on firmer ground with his menswear-inspired tailoring. There were two key trouser silhouettes this season: a cropped, tapered pant with some volume, and a short shape that was slouchier and more boyish. Neither was particularly innovative, but they worked nicely to ground the looks. Meanwhile, Smith's confidence with color really came through in his tailoring, as he refreshed similar ensembles by recombining colors in various painterly ways. The collection's other strength was its outerwear, especially the oversize navy shearling motorcycle jacket with electric blue trim and the abbreviated, boxy peacoat in white and navy. Amid all the experimental pyrotechnics here, it was the modest look that matched the peacoat with a pair of bright blue boyish trousers that set off the biggest bang tonight. It's tempting to call that weird, but as a matter of fact, it's not.