Technically, Sir Paul Smith isn't showing in London this week; instead, his winter collection will be unveiled in Paris in a fortnight's time. So his London presentation was less about seasonal concept than it was about a specific principle.
Against the storm-grey concrete floor and white walls of Savile Row's Hauser & Wirth Gallery, Smith set up a bare setting of long school tables and stripe-upholstered chairs. And then he populated that setting with a group of circus acrobats and gymnasts, who leapt and spun and tumbled their way through a variety of no-safety-net tricks.
It was a neat, simple conceit, with the performers clad in Smith's new travel suit — a fast-recovery, water-repellent, crease-resistant piece of tailoring which will become part of the label's permanent collection. Shown in navy and teamed with white shirts, the suit itself was far from being the most dramatic sartorial statement of the week. But the presentation was a timely reminder of the work Smith and other now-establishment names like Richard James and Ozwald Boateng once did to reconstruct and reconsider the classic suit in the Nineties, as a clothing element that could be utterly relevant for modern living. As principles go, it's a pretty good one.