"Trad and true" is the name of the game at Mr. Smith's showing back in July. Well, almost. The truer adage could be said to sway a bit more on rocker vibes blasted freely with lush colors, as the collection encapsulated more than the usual offering of suits and tailoring. So while our eyes took note of healthy doses of Anglophilic touches and unusual pleating on trousers, we (as the viewers) could easily deduce that a better than average sensibility from the line was growing - Smith's going for the gold on this one. For street style mavens and drummers alike, your call to action has hit the front lines - just be sure to swap your sticks for a holdall, ok?
Smith always manages to let that subtle, groovy sentiment nudge itself in between each season's vision. Last year saw nautical tributes and heavy use of navy. His earlier autumn collection was absolutely bursting with detail, with paneled fabrics making the majority for last spring's showing. Here, tailoring took a sharper, more pronounced turn - where double breasted options contrasted rather nicely with cigarette bottoms on one end, oxfords and shirting were to be seen emblazoned with edgier nuances. To cuff or not to cuff? Smith chooses the former, allowing for ankles to get in on the action and splashing ochre, tangerine, saffron and many other balanced hues on the forefront. Softer notes of peach and plum were directed against a Klein blue-esque overcoat, signaling a change of pace. With a gradual shift, the cultivated sense of preppiness grew darker and grittier - moto jackets and technical bombers made their way out with piquant attitude. Rock star indeed.
Regarding patterns, floral takes were brought out in edgy illustrations of halved roses - some blazers and sport coats were to be seen a la ombre fashion and gave room for a more masculine definition with gradients. A non-descript, black on white all over print (below) exerts itself greatly against trousers that now assume a fit falling in between sack and skinny - we'll call it semi-sack to put off any confusion. It'd be remiss for me to not mention (again) the unusual function of pleats here - since when do they double as belt loops? My stamp of approval is all over that: quirky, minimally refined and justly appropriate for the occasion.
Normally, we can all agree that I eschew any footwear offerings from those designers that don't quite have their focus on it. For now though, I'll have to admit that the choices of sandals seen here are actually wearable. The squeaky looking boots that are seen up top though - not so much (sorry). Again, color takes precedence here as more mature notes of plum, rose, and key black round off a simple selection of shoes that stand in the place of more traditional options like wingtips or brogues. While it doesn't necessarily seem "chopper" ready, it still holds it's own against the likes of Lemaires' (disappointing) offerings from a few weeks back. Through it all, Smith still proves that he's got it made - there are but a few designers that can successfully combine disparate elements of theme, while retaining some sense of control. Jacobs does this consistently and Katrantzou has her moments. Street style or not, this was definitely a top contender for the best menswear show annually and it proves, ultimately, that English tailoring will almost certainly stay at the helm of suiting.