After his giddy, Technicolor show, Paul Smith was admitting that it's tricky to do color in the Fall. But he'd gone and done it anyway. It's hard to find a faster pick-me-up than brights, and the collection, Smith said, was "about optimism during this difficult period in the world." So if someone's got to light the way, he'll do it. The decision arguably put him at a remove from his fellow designers in what was a dark season full of black and white, charcoal, and deeper, boskier shades—forest green, burgundy, and so on. But Smith has been doing it long enough to take the long view, not the seasonal one, or so one assumes. Either way, the retailers were salivating. Color pops—in stores and, more importantly than ever, online.

If the path was well-worn, the shapes were, too. Smith put out pleated trousers and exuberant knits in color combinations that practically sparked, like Prussian blue and teal. There were knits that fizzed—in fuzzy kid mohair and alpaca—and those that literally glittered with Lurex; one particularly zippy one had multicolored blocks of cabling. Even the soles of Smith's shoes were painted. Many designers have been revisiting traditional menswear fabrics and patterns this season, and here Smith joined the crowd—though his houndstooth car coat was purple. Still, it should all pull apart to move. No accident, that. "Separates have never been so important," Sir Paul opined.