11.06.2024 #fashion

Paul Smith

All prints and patterns you see are exclusive

«When I was 18 years of age I lived in Nottingham, in the middle of England. From there I used to go down to London, to an area called Soho»

Paul Smith has returned to Pitti Uomo in Florence to debut the spring-summer 2025 collection, presented by Sir Paul himself to a select audience at Villa Favard, a gorgeously ornate 19th-century villa in the centre of the city, known for its intricate frescoes and grand proportions. For one day only, the villa was transformed into Bar Paul, a tribute to the Italian cafes that the designer frequented in Soho in the 1960s. The collection itself is inspired by that atmosphere, with the usual playful signature approach to tailoring. The loosely knotted kitsch ties are paired with matching shirts under denim chore jackets and unstructured blazers in cotton canvas. Suits are cut from classic houndstooth and Prince of Wales fabrics, recalling the ‘60s Swinging London, while outerwear uses bold statement fabrics to eye-catching effect.


The announcement of your participation at Pitti Uomo was an unexpected surprise. What does this comeback mean to you?

Paul Smith:

«After years and years of catwalk shows in Paris, I thought it was the perfect time to do something which is more personal and which is more from the heart. I think we all need it as the world is going mad. So after the first time, more than 30 years ago, we are back at Pitti!»

Can you tell us something about this more personal concept?

Paul Smith:

«I would like to explain to you why this villa has today become Bar Paul (Smith) and also why the presence of all this artist’s material is all over the place. When I was 18 years of age I lived in Nottingham, in the middle of England. From there I used to go down to London, to an area called Soho, which was at the time a bit naughty, but it also had fantastic clubs for music. There was also a French colony club, which was where Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach and Francis Bacon used to hang out and drink. Most of the outfits of my spring summer 2025 collections are inspired by the  typical ones that those guys would have worn, from their studios to the nights out.»

Which are the highlights of the collection?

Paul Smith:

«There is surely a big focus on materials, starting from our new collaboration with Lee, a historical American brand, a jeans manufacturer which was founded in 1889. We managed to create various beautiful pieces with them, like jacquard carpenters pants, or trousers made using a special herringbone denim fabric we made. Some tailoring pieces are done using what they call 130s quality fabrics. You know when you go to fairs and they go saying this is 130s quality and you have no idea what they mean? I can explain that. Basically, any fabric classified between 120 and 160 means that the yarn is twisted and is really beautiful. This quality comes from the long-haired part of the sheep. The result is a fantastic fabric, because there is so much life attached to it.»




Your brand is identified by various signature patterns and items. How relevant is it to have an immediately recognizable style in 2024?

Paul Smith:

«There is a lot of work behind. For example, we have our own in-house textile design team, so every print and every pattern you see is exclusive. We also have a lovely archive in my hometown in Nottingham. A full-time archivist takes care of it, as we have now 4600 pieces of clothing there. Thanks to the combination of these two essential elements we are able to create immediately recognizable styles. An example from this new collection can be a shirt with an inkjet print obtained from a photograph of flowers, which was hand-painted over. Its collar, which I found in the archive, has a most unusual opening, and the result is unique.»

Is it this unique approach that makes Paul Smith so popular among VIPs on both sides of the Atlantic?

Paul Smith:

«We have a beautiful shop in Los Angeles, on Melrose Avenue, and there we have great success dressing both actors and musicians, I have had a big collaboration with The Rolling Stones recently, designing their album cover, which also was very popular. We still work a lot with musicians and, as you probably know, I used to work a lot with David Bowie. Of course, some designs for VIP dressing are present in this collection as well. I am referring especially to a Red Carpet suit, made in a very nice lightweight fresco fabric, taking it to the full extreme, with shawl collar, embroideries and a very slim silhouette, which looks lovely in the combo blue version.»

Interview: Giuliano Deidda

Photos: Ludovica Arcero


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