"It's nice to have some optimism in this sad world," announced Paul Smith, talking before his lively show about his inspiration of the moment: "La Vie en Couleurs" ("Life in Colours") the title of a retrospective of mid-century photographs by Jacques Henri Lartigue, which recently showed at MEP in Paris.
Smith also explained that he had returned to silkscreen printing, rather than using digital effects — a general trend that is an interesting move, since British designers were the first to embrace the computerised patterns that have spilled over into the global fashion universe.
The Paul Smith show was, indeed, silken and colourful with an Indian or African feel to deep orange silk, a marmalade sweater and prints that mixed miniature leopard patterns with coal-black shadows. Add colour — yellow, turquoise or lipstick red - even on platform sandals.
The clothes themselves did not have the same sense of reach as did the vibrant shades. Perhaps wisely, Smith offered up a modern realism: tailored suits with over-the-knee hemlines, trouser suits, summer dresses just skimming the body. Stripes in the colours traditionally associated with uniforms, such as red and blue, added a sporty effect.
Paul Smith's womenswear seems to have found its place in a realist zone — while the inspirational 'life in colour' added a bright piquancy.