• Text Alex James Taylor
  • Photography Alexandre Sallé de Chou
  • 23rd January 2017

The beat goes on

In tailored unison, Paul Smith’s FW17 show – his first co-ed collection – opened with a man and woman walking side by side in Black Watch tartan.

To the thumping drums of The Pretty Things’ The Beat Goes On (perhaps reference to a less than satisfactory 2016), Smith went back to his roots, paying homage to his early years as a consultant to the International Wool Secretariat, touring the country for fine cloths and innovative designs before starting his eponymous label in 1970. Reflecting on this formative time in his life, the designer’s FW17 offering boasted materials sourced from British mills including Lovatt and Hardy Minnis.

Moving from camel trenches and blazers to Prince of Wales check overcoats through fairisle knits, there was an English country gent feel to the collection, yet with that Paul Smith rock ’n’ roll twist appearing here in the form of shearling-lined aviator jackets, python skin Chelsea boots and bold primary colour britpop suiting – perfect whether you live in a very big house in the country or you’re a common person.

With his show taking place on the same day as millions of people marched for women’s rights across the globe, for Smith – a designer who shapes his work around the youth zeitgeist – combining his men’s and women’s collections just makes sense: sending out boys and girls as equals.