Walking in luxury Persian rug store Essie on the morning of LCM’s final day, it’s safe to say that at first glance it seemed an unlikely venue for Sir Paul Smith’s Brit-to-the-bone aesthetic. However, as it often is with first impressions, any doubt soon dissipated upon witnessing the visual chemistry Smith’s tailored ensembles and dispersed accessories shared with their backdrop of rich tapestries. Showing his main menswear collection in Paris, this season the designer added a presentation to the London calendar, both in support of the local fashion scene, but also because his homeland is at the very heart of his upcoming show. “I have called this ‘The British collection’ as it is crafted entirely with fabric from British mills,” he shared, emphasizing the more unusual take on classic heritage prints such an a magnified checks and kilim-inspired patterns popping up on jackets and desert boots. There was a distinct traveller feel to the fabrics and layers, with soft denim and indigo shirts and woven, carpet-inspired scarves providing the visual and thematic anchors of the collection.
As with many menswear brands, even huge ones, this more intimate format of presentations unveils their strongest asset, which a catwalk can often obliterate: the sheer unmistakable quality and tactility of individual items. It did wonders for Smith, whose modern suit ensembles, while pensive and dignified from afar, shared the inviting and warm aura of their illustrious carpeted surroundings.