Last season, Paul Smith opened his show with a song by Patti Smith, which was appropriate given that her attitude and sense of style resonated through the designer's Fall 2011 collection. This afternoon, the opening track was "All Tomorrow's Parties," by the Velvet Underground. But the music wasn't much of a clue to what followed. This read as something of a brass-tacks collection for Paul Smith—there were a ton of easygoing staple pieces, as well as some winning accessories, but no overarching proposition.
The emphasis was on trousers. Smith sent out three key silhouettes: There was a pair of trim, slightly cropped boyish pants and another tailored style that was wider, high-waisted, and shorter; he also showed a pair of slouchy jogging pants in both burgundy silk and the foulard print that threaded through the collection. The jogging pants looked like no-brainers—chic and cozy all at once, and a nice twist on fashion's present pajama trend—and the boyish trousers looked particularly good in plaid and pop colors such as mustard and electric blue. The third style, wide, high-waisted, and short, came off a touch awkward.
There were winning pieces studded throughout the show: Soft silk pleated skirts with a touch of sheen, an oversize pajama-stripe button-down, a drop-waist dress in the foulard, and a blouse and trousers in a cool smudged floral print. The accessories are also worth noting: Smith has a hit on his hands with this season's super-flat loafers, and a possible cult phenomenon in wood-heel sandals with contrasting bands of color. He also turned out a seriously chic fedora, done in burgundy wool with a pale coral band.