Paul Smith broke down gender barriers with his latest runway show

We often see fashion designers blurring gender lines by reinventing typically masculine or feminine silhouettes. Paul Smith took it one step further with his autumn/winter /17 catwalk show where he presented his men’s and women’s collections on one runway, a first for his career. Many of his female models were also styled in strong, masculine garments from loose trousers and tailored jackets to broad-shouldered coats. At the same time he showed off ultra feminine styles like flowing print dresses and delicate blouses that provided an appealing contrast to the rest of the range.

The collection served as a glance back at the heritage of Paul Smith, who launched his label in 1970. Early in his career, with the UK’s textile industry booming, Paul was employed by the International Wool Secretariat to tour the country in search of innovative cloth design.

In an echo of this, the new collection has been filled with tactile tailoring cloths sourced from British mills including Lovatt and Hardy Minnis. British patterns such as Prince of Wales check and Black Watch tartan, are also prominent.

Swipe to see the Paul Smith autumn/winter /17 women’s collection

This British focus continued in knitwear with Scottish cashmere in muted colours, and Fair Isle knits featuring woven charm motifs, adding texture and colour to the ensembles. He also showed off classic floral and exclusive Liberty prints on the shirts, adding to the British flair.

Print is a cornerstone of Paul Smith and was well articulated this season. A colourful feather motif was a focus; printed onto silk, hand-embroidered onto cashmere coats and appliqued onto leather accessories.

While drawing on heritage, Paul Smith subverted the the classic and conventional through colour, with clashing bolts of pillar box red and British racing green, and through texture, with hardy cloths contrasting soft silks and cashmeres. He also reworked the classic silhouette, with a long, slim legs expanding through the torso into a strong, broad shoulder shapes.

From cloth to cut, tailoring remained at heart of Paul Smith and was confidently explored for both genders. Although men and women brush shoulders on the catwalk, tailoring was distinctly engineered to suit each form.

Swipe to see the Paul Smith autumn/winter /17 women’s collection

 

 

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