Hawaiian graphics are a reference to Paul’s early visits to New York in the Seventies, when he’d return to England with trunks of Hawaiian shirts sourced from SoHo. The billowing shapes and vivid prints on the shirts were popular with customers picking up pieces for Northern Soul nights at Wigan Casino or Sheffield’s King Mojo. This kitsch thrift later gave way to Paul’s own unique floral print shirts, which fast became a design signature.
Floral and aquatic motifs are embroidered onto the satin lapels of tuxedos, hand-painted on leather and appliquéd onto tote bags. The ocean print also makes an appearance on technical outerwear developed in collaboration with factories specializing in performance-wear, bringing modernity and functionality to the collection. A midnight beach scene on landscape jacquard from Italy’s Limonta mill appears on a bomber jacket for men.
The irreverence of Paul Smith is injected in Japanese fish tin graphics on cross-body box bags, belts, shirt pockets and more. The palette of the collection graduates from soft pastels of cornflower blue and dusty pink through to midnight-tones and French navy, climaxing with striking yellow and hot turquoise.
Tailoring shapes for both men and women nod to Eighties pieces from the Paul Smith archive, in particular the notched lapels, low break points and squared shoulders. Patch-worked floral print dresses play with louche summer shirt collar shapes and Japanese carp dive across silk georgette slips. Patterned linings take on new life on a brushed cotton two-piece suit for women, where tropical flowers are reverse printed, appearing sun-bleached on the outside but in full colour on the inside.
A relaxed, surf spirit continues across deck chair striped beach bags, printed espadrilles and colourful sandals. Post-punk and pop dominates the soundtrack with the inclusion of tracks by The Cure and David Essex whilst The Beatles’ Octopus’s Garden echoes the aquatic theme.