Paul Smith has been designing glamorous tailored suits for almost 50 years now, yet his Spring 2020 menswear collection felt like some of the freshest tailoring on the runways illuminated by a an explosion of paintbox colors. His suits have a gorgeous fluidity with ultra clean lines that have an ease and beauty without a hint of stuffiness. He opened the show with an array of summery monochromatic silhouettes in soft pastels ranging from baby pink, to peach, neon yellow, minty green and a cool, neutral gray. Smith is known for his classic aesthetic with unexpected details, but his unexpected color palette this season brought a seriously modern overtone to the light, flowing cuts.
For Spring, Smith referenced the creativity and excitement of the New York art scene in the 70s with bold blocks of bright color, and minimalist elements. You can almost see artists like de Kooning, Raushenburg, and Warhol wearing them. The models’ rumpled hair looked as if they’d been interrupted while deep at work, oblivious to their own appearance while still radiating a serene carefree coolness. The collection was full of predominantly matte textures with a subtle burnished sheen provided by the faint shine of leather and few textural prints. Body contouring slouchy bags were worn slung across the chest on several looks which added an organic, modern touch.
Bold neon colors like yellow or even the soft pastels can be a challenge to incorporate into a wardrobe, but Paul Smith breaks up the monochromatic looks into blocks of color juxtaposed against clean black suiting. The whole collection was a masterclass in how to play with color by pairing brightly colored trousers with a black jacket, or letting a print show under another solid color. He mixed pastel leather pants and jackets seamlessly into tailored looks, and it was often hard to tell the perfectly tailored, leather apart from the other breezy, lightweight fabrics. The loose, breezy cuts make a pretty convincing argument for wearing leather year round. Paul Smith’s collections are always more about adding joyful touches to your wardrobe than trying to be trendy, and this collection illustrates just how relevant and effective that can be.