In a potted garden recreated in Paris' Bourse de Commerce, Paul Smith went with a new riff on that old floral trend, the plant print. Coming from the man who had no so long ago given nobility to the mushroom, it felt suitably louche, and rife with that not so serious British twist. How else explain the empty banana peel or the rather stylized spider plant that looked like something you might be tempted to smoke? His boys expressed the debonair delights of a musical time period Sir Paul has recently been circling quite a bit.
Soft and loose, the silhouettes played it mellow. Rainbows of watered down-hues striped vertically on the front, or zig-zagged across sweaters. Colored sunglasses continued that 70s vibration, while knit bracelets felt like the return from some music festival. Unlike last season's musical inspired knits, this season felt like a chill pill gone wrong, with the walking soda can and the cactoid character looking grim. Light check trousers had something to them, but as shorts, they just looked like the model had forgotten the bottom half of his outfit backstage. Only in leather or thicker fabric did they have any redeeming qualities. Rather charmless were also the leather fringes that adorned sweaters or trouser hems, looking like they'd been repurposed from whatever den of iniquity these boys had spent the weekend in. And those man T-strap Mary-Janes? Just say no.
But a lot of it was terrific, too. The best parts were, as often, to be picked and mixed from this lineup. The sweaters are not to be missed. Silhouettes felt lush as well as louche as a thick satin suit with contrasting under arms, and like a great way to revisit straight-laced menswear for those who aren't into challenging garments. That darker purple felt just right. The pastel blues and pinks of bomber jackets felt like a fresh twist on a tired shape, regardless of the print. As the last model came out, in a white tee that scream YEAH! and floaty trousers with a host of ladybirds scattered, it was obvious that a good enough time had been had by all in a collection sprouting with pretty blooms among the weeds.