The honourable spot of closing the AW20 men’s show season belonged to Paul Smith. And rightfully so – the charming master of colourful tailoring was celebrating 50 years in the business. In anniversary terms, this signifies gold and, while there was no actual gold found in his celebratory collection, he did indeed provide us with some precious gems in garment form. Firstly, it would be a shame not to credit the impressive A-list frow – Susan Sarandon, Sir Ian McKellen and Jon Hamm all sat together dressed all in head-to-toe checks, a trio worthy of any Hollywood blockbuster. And seeing their incredible chemistry up close, we surely do hope to see them on screen together soon. But Paul Smith was never just about the people wearing his clothes despite dressing some of the most talented people from all different fields for decades. Instead, his focus was always on putting comfort and joy into suiting, a part of the wardrobe that so often sticks to the serious nature of its purpose.
Five decades in, Smith continues to explore new classicism with his ideas. His handwritten logo came blown out and printed like abstract scribbles on jackets – a bit of the usual tongue-in-cheek action. Tonal suiting was as present as ever, in that classic 1970s via 1990s Paul Smith kinda way. For AW20, the legendary designer also threw in a few sporty elements in form of fleeces and longline parkas. And then there’s the hyper-popular knits in fun, hand-drawn patterns which will definitely fly off the shelves all over the world. A nice surprise were the lusciously soft maxi shearling coats which referenced the outerwear the British designer found in his grandma’s wardrobe wore back in the 1970s. While a video montage of his best moments opened the show, it was a compilation of Paul Smith’s final bows that played on the large screens as he took his one today. A truly poignant moment that made us appreciate this man’s determined spirit and undying enthusiasm all over again. We cheer to you, Sir Paul Smith!
Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans.