Paul Smith: a half-century and still standing
Sir Paul Smith celebrated his 50th Anniversary on Sunday night in Paris, and the stars came out to fete fashion’s best-loved knight.
Fellow knight and master actor Sir Ian McKellen came to Paris, as did Anna Wintour (a day early before couture), and another thesp, Bill Nighy, to join Smith for his runway show in Elysée Montmartre, a 19th century dance hall in north Paris. They later celebrated his half-century at supper three doors down the boulevard at Le Trianon.
˝Its not the 50th show, more like the 160th,” laughed the 73-year-old Smith backstage after a great runway moment that was a compendium of his remarkable career.
It was backed up by a giant video wall showing highlights from the early days, when he looked as skinny as some of his runway models, to the later years when he first introduced womenswear in 1993.
Keeping the creative juices flowing, Smith unveiled some great new elongated suits, the jackets finished well down the thigh, buttons located at the hip. They all looked fresh, hip and highly wearable – Sir Paul’s oeuvre all his life.
In a co-ed show, he also dressed the ladies in boyfriends’ suits and tuxedos, and the result was all very flattering and self-assured.
Smith also sent out some rather serious and perfectly cut undertaker coats finished with ever-so-frayed hems – paired cleverly with polka-dot shirts. Many guys and girls walked in great hardy denim looks, in midnight blue workers style, or with some fab retro spaghetti prints.
Quite rightly, Smith won a standing ovation at the finale, briskly walking down the catwalk in a wave of adulation, none with a bigger smile than his wife Pauline.
Reflecting on his career, Britain’s most successful independent designer remarked: ˝We are still independent, Yes ! And I am still involved”.
“I still have a job, which I love with my heart,˝ he chuckled in the backstage post-show.
˝The collection, of course, has some references from the past. For instance, some of the logos that we used, even in the show staff shirts. Or the spaghetti print, which was something I used in 1995. And the polka-dots which I did, well, since the beginning of my career,˝ he added with a broad smile.
˝And why all the blue? Because as you all probably know, travelling around Paris at the moment is pretty difficult. Between the Gilets Jaunes and what’s happening to Macron. Plus, there’s all this trouble in the Middle East, so we thought what about blue - optimistic, happy and strong ending?˝
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