There is always a slight louche side to Paul Smith's man, sustained by soundtracks invoking music's dark horses, Gregory Isaacs this time. But the ambiguity is only the reflection of the viewer's own mental make-up. No matter how languid, there is always assured masculinity in the Englishman's silhouettes, a post-‘summer of love” version of the dandy. Under the dome of the Bourse du Commerce, it was a collection full of solid silhouettes, tailored as is his wont. The triangular invitation materialized in knitwear and throughout, a sense of geometry prevailed, in tone-on -tone checks or discrete assortment of stripes. And the puffy volumes of a jacket or two made an appearance, proof in the proverbial pudding that Sir Paul has his finger on the pulse of things to come.
Also, a renewed sense of elegance emanates from these silhouettes, with their palette more muted than any recent season. Relegating him the zany musicality of his trips down memory lane is as reductive as saying he is a designer of stripes. Some may regret the absence of the humorous knits of past seasons. But with a market saturated with message sweaters, the slightly less pedestrian version of the message t-shirt genre, it makes sense. Off the beaten track he always goes, and with gusto.
With a global reach like his, his style has boiled down to a form of generic international language, delivering the condensed version of his thoughts. It is hard to find fault, or charming asperity here. Regardless, the energy of Paul Smith's efficient wares is still very present. The designer even expended some of that energy in a victory lap for his finale, overtaking his much younger cast. Leaping over to reach the stairs to the backstage below, he was the vivid symbol of an irreverent attitude our times sorely need.