Paul Smith Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2016 London
Paul Smith's been talking a lot about change recently. At an age when he could rest on well-padded laurels, he's keen to push forward with new ideas, and with new interpretations of his intensely distinctive label. Those signatures – mannish separates; intense florals; quirky British-infused detail; and, above all, the flamboyant house rainbow-stripe – are being toned down, or rethought.
That's not to say that Paul Smith 2.0 is starting from a blank piece of paper. Most garments on the Serpentine Gallery's runway today were recognizably true to Smith's particular brand of uncluttered dressing. It was more a matter of emphasis – like the tailoring, energized with vivid blocks of teal and kingfisher blue set against fine amber boat-necks. Or the almost-sloppiness of pale coral fishnet sweaters, and drooping cotton-striped dresses in sun-faded reds and blues. That soft, beachcomber-ish theme extended to blurry wool dresses and separates, to prints that evoked gravel and sand, and to flowing tunics smeared with indigo brushstrokes There was more than a hint of the mid-century artists’ colony at St. Ives in Cornwall about the whole show, actually, from the Ben Nicholson-like layering of abstracted surfaces, to the firmly braided coronets of hair that Barbara Hepworth wore. The show's hashtag (#independentmind) could easily have applied to the radical, defiantly unconventional codes that Hepworth and Nicholson created in their lives and art. And it fitted just as neatly into Smith's newest incarnation.