Paul Smith took an existential turn this season, looking at the different possibilities of the suit. “What is a suit after all?” he and his team wondered. “Does it always need to be a matching tailored set?”
Smith isn’t the only one who’s wondering.
Since the end of the pandemic, well-dressed men have been rethinking their relationship with the suit, adding and subtracting elements to suit their lifestyles and a new work-from-home culture. Some men have even added ties, which had died long before the pandemic, back into the mix.
“Of course the suit is still vital, and very relevant; we sell a lot of them. In fact, we sold 20 in our shop on Saturday,” said Smith, who still works on the shop floor of his Albemarle Street store in London.
“It’s just that the next generation is really thinking about the suit in a new way. It doesn’t have to be a single-breasted jacket. It can be a vest, or a longer jacket with a shirt collar. It can be oversize, military inspired or unconstructed,” Smith added.
He delivered all of those options, and then some, in a collection that was packed with zingy color, print and fabrics such as Fresco, a lightweight English wool, cotton and silk.
The new suit solutions came as boxy workwear ensembles, in tomato red or sky blue with zigzag contrast stitching. A tank top peeked from underneath a gray waistcoat and skinny trousers while a three-piece style with an iridescent sheen came with stirrup pants.
Smith drained the formality from a black satin jacket by adding a signature striped shirt and jeans, and even shook up a pinstripe suit, transforming the trousers into thigh-skimming shorts. The look wasn’t for every man, but some will certainly be thanking Smith when the merciless summer sun beats down on the city streets.
There were many options here, and Smith is certainly the man to deliver them. He’s been in the clothing business for more than 50 years and has seen it all many times before.