Think of spring and, of course, one thinks of flowers. There certainly have been no shortage of floral prints this season, conceived in just about every artistic term possible. Paul Smith takes us just a bit further, though, with a collection that, at least for a few pieces, might make one yearn to get out in the garden with the flowers and play in the dirt a bit. Amidst a set scattered with boxed wildflowers, Smith delivered bolts of linen and cotton hued in earth tones ranging from shades of light tan to shades of midnight blue to a whole spectrum of orange and yellow. Floral prints ranged from depictions of small wildflowers to larger renditions of Irises, buttercups, daffodils, and daisies. Altogether, it was an absolute garden of woven delights set before an eager set of gardeners.
What wasn’t quite so clear, though, was for which end of the age spectrum Paul was aiming. On one hand, there are some very youthful elements in the collection, dark blue jumpers and suits lit with flowers done in electric colors and silk blouses with spaghetti straps that flutter seductively in the breeze. At the same time, however, the other hand holds loose calf-length trousers with oversized wildflowers paired with an even more abundantly sized brown gingham check and loose house dress that zips up the front. Either of the latter two were only missing a set of fuzzy house slippers to keep them from looking like someone’s wandering grandmother coming down the runway. Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with either look nor either age group, but it is a span broader than most designers dare to address.
Throughout the collection, silhouettes are loose and flowing. I don’t think Smith is committing any acts of age targeting but rather exploring silhouettes that are comfortable and easy to wear. There are some beautiful white dresses perfect for afternoon tea, a couple of very interesting bone-colored suits that would work in an office or out on a casual stroll, and some lovely orange dresses with white petal collars suitable for cocktail parties. There’s plenty of choices to go around.
I found it interesting that several people were sneezing as they sat through the show. Hayfever and other allergies are difficult to avoid in an enclosed setting like this. Fortunately, I think the allergens were confined to the decorative live plants. The clothes are almost certainly safe. Maybe. I think I remember meeting a person once who was allergic to cotton. Still, this is a wonderful collection for wandering among the flowers this spring. The decision to make it a more personal experience is up to you.