Did that jolly good chap Paul Smith spend his summer fitting in a bit of work while glued to the cricket on TV? Why not? That's exactly what every other red-blooded British male was up to these past months when (as the rest of the world may not have noticed) England thrashed Australia in the Ashes, for the first time in, oh, yonks. At any rate, that's one excuse for the cricket whitesbig cotton cable-knit sweaters and baggy pantsthat turned up in his summer collection, albeit in girlish shapes and with saucy details, like satin and lace underwear, doodled in along the way.
It's nice to see Smith so relaxed designing clothes for women. A menswear designer first, it took a while for him to get into what now comes naturally: making stuff an uncomplicated bloke could fancy a good girl wearing. Thus, there was a lot of mild fantasy play going on around what a girlfriend might look like in a man's bib-front shirt, say, or perhaps a virginal, cut-work linen nightie over boxer shorts. After that, the reverie floated on to summery smocks and sprigged floral prints ideal for garden parties and, with a bit of luck, a little hanky-panky behind the bushes. It's all harmless, clean living fun, of course. Nothing much to do with the busy, thrusting thoroughfares of fashion progress eitherbut that's exactly what Paul Smith has dedicated himself to avoiding.