Paul Smith SS17: Peace and Positivity

Charles Edwards-Freshwater (Online Editor)
A sunshine drenched collection with an optimistic outlook

There’s something about the summer months that always helps you see life from a whole new perspective. Maybe it’s the sun finally appearing after the months of cold or the flowers and trees painting the grey landscape with colours once again, but it’s a time for change, renewal and peace – a bright outlook on life and beauty which Paul Smith has chosen for his muse for his SS17 collections for men and women.

Translating these feelings into bright colours and eye catching prints, Paul Smith’s SS17 Man collection in particular is a testament to the subtle shift in feeling that the season brings, the whole collection a daydream of his own memories and tropical inspirations morphed together to form a series of looks that are bright, positive and full of the zest for life and playfulness that we’ve come to expect from Paul Smith as a designer.

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Inspired by his own youth of travelling from Nottingham to London in the sixties, Smith was inspired by the sights of the city and celebrations such as Notting Hill Carnival and the colours that came with it – a jubilation and freedom of aesthetic that he has recreated to perfection in his collection for men this season. Modernising 1960s tailoring and creating the statement pieces out of super lightweight material for a fresh and breezy aesthetic, Smith has also injected the designs of the summer with sportswear influences and a more diverse casting in his runway show, echoing the multicultural status of London and the evolution in fashion that has taken place there over the last five decades.

Lifting the collective spirit with bright bursts of colour and statement patterns, the colourways that Paul Smith has employed for this season are distinctly tropical and tantalising; the warm mixes of reds, greens and yellows in Paul Smith’s iconic stripes instantly making it clear that this is one collection which is all about celebrating the summer sun. A tropical tartan fabric also appears throughout the collection, covering shirts and jackets alike for a fun tropical twist on a more traditional pattern which shows us Paul Smith’s more playful side.

Perhaps the most striking emblem of the men’s collection is also the use of the number seventeen. Not only dating the pieces so that you know from a glance that they are part of the SS17 collection, the seventeen also represents a refresh and new start after the trails of 2016, a year which for many is one that would rather be forgotten.

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Florals and spring may not be the most revolutionary mix, but taking the traditionally feminine motif and morphing it using his unique vision Paul Smith has ensured that the women’s SS17 collection is just as exciting as the male counterpart. Inspired by the longstanding tradition of floral garlands meaning friendship and companionship, Smith designed the female SS17 collection with his iconic photographic floral prints transformed into embroidery and fabric instead, all hand stitched and focussing on the art of creation and rebirth.

Transfixed by the colours he experienced at a recent visit to see Hilma Af Klimt’s work at the Serpentine Gallery, Smith decided to translate the muted feminine flourishes from her work into fashion, echoing the ethereal nature and overtly elegant colours and characteristics to create garments which seem taken from another world. Showcasing these beautiful pieces in a stark modernist runway show in Paris, the convergence between natural and manmade was further emphasised by the pieces all exuding a sort of modernist ease of wearability and relaxed approach to beauty, louche tailoring and utilitarian design elements harmonising to form pieces a woman will always feel confident wearing.

Deconstructed silhouettes and the sheer softness of the pieces add a further level of spring freedom, and in many cases the wearer’s body dictates how the clothes fall, transforming them to fit with their own style. A slight masculine edge shines through in the tailoring, and a number of intricate Grecian dresses and origami like folding of material add those extra special details that work with the embroidered florals, elevating the collection into new realms of unique allure.

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Perhaps one of the most iconic elements of the women’s SS17 collection is Paul Smith’s new Artist’s Stripe which appears on many of the footwear and bags. A nod to the heritage of the designer and his love of stripes and vibrant colours, this detail reinforces the masculine elements of the collection and enhances the feeling of optimism, freedom, and casual chic which defines the very soul of every garment that hit the catwalk.

A stunning season for Paul Smith which demonstrates a lighter, more optimistic approach to fashion, SS17 for both men and women are collections that are all about looking towards the future with a smile on your face. Brightly coloured, casual and bursting with that Paul Smith magic that can only be captured by his iconic use of patterns and playful disregard for the rules, SS17 is a new start and a complete wardrobe refresh – perfect for forgetting the trials and tribulations of 2016 and instead looking towards 2017 as a year of unconquerable chic and sleek style oozing with optimism.

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