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Paul Smith's AW24 collection

By Press Club


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Credits: Paul Smith, FW24

Finding new ways to reconfigure classic tailoring, Paul Smith’s AW24 collection intertwines traditional elements with modernist design choices. 20th century English dress codes are evoked and made new with experimental prints, unexpected fabrications, and a rich, earthy colour palette.

Self-expression through style has been a core belief of Paul’s since the very beginning. In the earliest days of the business, he reimagined men’s clothing as something more fun, playful, and altogether light-hearted: colour and pattern were introduced into an area of fashion where they were typically absent. Men’s clothing – and men’s tailoring more specifically – had until then been a somewhat stuffy affair, something Paul helped to change. But crucially, he has always lived and worked according to the principle that you have to know the rules before you can break them.

For AW24, Paul Smith presents a collection which intertwines tradition with a sense of irreverent modernism. Silhouettes diligently reference classic English garments from the middle of the 20th century: we see suits with a fuller, more relaxed cut, double-pleated trousers, and details such as inverted pleats and belted backs. Statement outerwear echoes the utilitarian design of despatch rider coats worn in WW2. However, unlike their historic counterparts, these fresh interpretations adopt a bold visual approach, with a colour palette of purples and greens, and vivid, eye-catching patterns.

Credits: Paul Smith, FW24

The ‘Photogram’ print – central to the collection – is inspired by decorative beaux arts style wallpapers. It also evokes early photographic experiments such as cyanotypes, and the ‘Rayograph’ pioneered by Man Ray in the 1920s – a trailblazing technique which stood as its own rebellion against the restrictive norms of the day. The colour palette has a mottled, muted quality, built upon a base of aubergine, bottle green, navy, and chocolate brown, which is disrupted by flashes of ochre, lime, and silver-grey.

The fabric choices also reflect this sense of tradition being rudely interrupted. We see British gabardine, cavalry twill, and heavy tailoring flannel alongside grungy mohair, overdyed denim in acidic colours, and bleached military surplus cotton drill. Elegant tailoring might be classically British, but so is punk. The outerwear, meanwhile, introduces a rural influence, with jackets that adapt the silhouette of classic country walking coats. To add a modern, sporty twist, these jackets are available with matching fatigue-style trousers that can be worn as a statement set.

Paul Smith AW24 makes its debut with a runway show in Paris, on Friday 19th January. As well as the men’s looks, a handful of female models will also walk as part of the show, styled in a mix of men’s and women’s pieces. It's a collection which is in dialogue with the past, while creating something new for the current moment. It has respect and admiration for the history of fashion while maintaining a healthy irreverence for its rules. In many ways, it is the perfect encapsulation of Paul’s guiding principle – ‘classic with a twist.’

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