Paul Smith FW23 Is a Reflection of the Designer's Past
Drawing from his extensive archive as well as 200-year-old rugs he found in Milan.
Paul Smith is one of the U.K.’s greatest talents, and today he proved just that with his Fall/Winter 2023 menswear collection. Debuting at Paris Fashion Week, the Nottingham native known for color delivered a men’s medley of mishmashed and manipulated materials, inserting his signature use of stripes, rainbow colors, and prints into almost all of the collection.
FW23 was a reflection on the past. Pieces he designed in the ’90s acted as inspiration for the smallest of details, such as adding four buttons to the cuffs of jackets, bottoms of trousers, and along the interior seam of jackets. Looking back even further, the designer headed out to Milan where he found a collection of rugs, some of which were 200 years old. Couple this with fabrics taken from local English mills, and Paul Smith FW23 is a collection destined for his extensive archive and will surely be remembered.
Speaking on this in more detail to Hypebeast backstage, the designer said: “I visited a really amazing collection of old rugs. We got a lot of inspiration from the patterns, they were all slightly weird colors because they were hand-dyed.” With this in mind, he translated this vision onto his signature knitwear, adding twisted yarns that look like tweed together with colorful yarns to create a textured array of abstract jumpers, vests, and capes.
His tailoring was heavily inspired by the archives, too. “We went to the archives to use fabrics that I had done in the past, 25 years ago, and I’ve remade them for modern times. I was just revisiting things that I’ve done in my very, very, very long life, and still standing somehow, and jumping!”
But it wasn’t all as clean-cut as it seems. For example, outerwear that looks like it’s made from suiting fabrics, complete with check prints taken from the archive, is actually made from waterproof, windproof, weather-resistant recycled materials. The Houndstooth check that was used consistently across pieces was much more, as it inverted itself across blue-centric or gray-centric designs, intertwining with floral motifs taken from those aforementioned rugs.
This goes on to inform scarves and shoes that the designer said “reminded [him] of his time in London.” We think this was perfectly captured in one final look, a trench coat of Houndstooth design that belted and cinched, beautifully draping from the broad shoulders to the narrowness near the floor.
Altogether, the designer put it best himself. “If you take all of these apart, it’s a very wearable piece of clothing. I’ve always done clothes that people — people – wear.”
Take a look at Paul Smith’s FW23 collection above, and stay tuned to Hypebeast for more Paris Fashion Week FW23 content.
ICYMI, take a look at Givenchy FW23 backstage.