Channels the artists and creatives he knew at the time
In the movies, 1970s New York is the world of Mean Streets and Taxi Driver. But British fashion designer Paul Smith saw a different side, indulging in SoHo’s burgeoning art scene, with young creatives experimenting in their warehouse-like studios.
His memories of those days have found their way onto the catwalk. For the spring-summer 2020 collection, unveiled at Paris Fashion Week, an intentional scruffy elegance prevails. Inspired by the personal wardrobes of the characters he came to know, Smith has found himself drawn to the idea of an artist’s tailored suit, which could double as overalls, and the oversized jackets and customised cotton shirts that were the uniform of the creative scene.
Function and utility are key, and suits are soft and practical. The convenience of a pair of drawstring trousers in sage nylon juxtaposes with an oversized double-breasted jacket in plongé leather, colours slightly mismatched. Double-faced quilted silk is used, with shiny pinstripes and oversized suits. Long jackets, wide lapels and trousers high around the waist have become the norm.
Sticking with the artistic theme, the colours use a pop art palette, building from pastels of dusty pink and caramel to electric hues of yellow and blue. Screen-print florals and a graphic rabbit – Smith’s pop art re-appropriation of iconic brand logos – can also be seen.