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Recently, we were lucky enough to spend some time with Sir Paul Smith during Pitti Uomo 91 in Florence.

For FW17, the respected English designer showed the latest from his new PS by Paul Smith range. Just launched in May 2016, the new line draws inspirational cues from Paul Smith’s personal tastes for color and print, incorporating performance characteristics and functional fabrics.

So for Paul, there was no better way to align his PS by Paul Smith label with Pitti Uomo, than by framing the presentation within the worlds of cycling, gymnastics and dancing.

See what Sir Paul had to say below.

Action shot. #PSbyPaulSmith #pittiuomo #pu91

A photo posted by Paul Smith (@paulsmithdesign) on

First, what is the message with this new line, and this new collection?

Paul Smith: The PS collection still incorporates all the famous Paul Smith pieces; the suits, the shirts, and the blue jeans, but it’s the additional pieces that communicate something more modern. We understand people’s lifestyles, we understand that there are a lot of young people that are cycling to work, doing adventurous things on the weekends, and so on. The more technical pieces and the very practical pieces are windproof, waterproof and packable. We’ve adapted our old pieces for new living.

What are the main influences behind this collection?

PS: The main influences are really the constant factors through my life. I’ve always been a keen cyclist, I’m very close to the world of cycling. Not just cycling really – also walking, adventures, being a curious person, traveling to new countries. For instance, the Mac raincoat, you can pack it into its own small pocket, so its very practical to keep in your backpack. It’s very much about experiences I’ve had.

Why does Pitti Uomo matter? Why have you chosen this way to showcase the collection?

PS: I first heard of Pitti many years ago. I have a home in Tuscany, I’m friends with the people who run Pitti, and have been for many years. I like Pitti, because it’s an exhibition that doesn’t just have big brands and big globalized conglomerates. It’s also very much about small companies, to have a small shoe company, or belt company. I like that fact that it’s quite artisanal. I think it’s a perfect area for Paul Smith to show.

Why the dancers, and this complex level of choreography?

PS: Surprisingly, we only showed seven different pieces out of this enormous collection. All these pieces have very practical uses, so to show the clothes in motion and to create a bit of theatre is different from the static presentations at most fashion shows. Hopefully it’s fun and interesting, and it also shows the practicality of the clothes.

Lastly, what else do you do during the fashion week, besides Pitti Uomo?

PS: Well, we have Pitti Uomo, then in Milan, which is starting the end of the week, we’re showing all the collections both for men and women in our showroom Viale Umbria in Milan, and then we go from there to Paris, where we will show the same collections in our showroom. But in Paris we also have a fashion show, which, for the first time will include men’s and women’s, shown at the famous Palais de Beaux art school.

For more fashion week content, check out a dose of street style from Pitti Uomo.

Vancouver-born, Berlin-based writer, photographer and editor with a steady hand on the keyboard.

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