Of all the moments Paul Smith could choose to launch his new diffusion line, PS by Paul Smith, he arguably couldn’t have chosen a more loaded point than the tail end of last year. Yet its roots and the heritage it encompasses stretch back for 40 years.

In the summer of 1976, the unknown British cycling enthusiast-turned budding upcoming designer, Paul Smith, debuted his first ever collection at Paris fashion week. A few months after this, in November, The Sex Pistols released Anarchy in the UK – the legendary album that came to epitomize punk. This singular moment is one of the reasons why the British capital spent the majority of last year commemorating the subculture, the movement, and the mindset of punk through a series of exhibitions and events known as "Punk London."

Over the last 40 years, Paul Smith has designed and dressed the people that lived through the effects that punk brought on the world: from fashion to music, punk affected the very fabric of modern culture. Those affects are collectively gathered under the broad term of 'post-punk' and it’s no accident that this loosely defined term has formed the creative backbone of the new PS by Paul Smith line (Paul Smith's Mayfair flagship even helped open last summer's London Collections Men showcasing Derek Ridger’s images from his new photo book, Punk London 1977 – so the affinity runs deep).

Sitting alongside the main Paul Smith collection, PS by Paul Smith wraps up all of the previous different diffusion lines, collections and Paul Smith brands under one roof, channeling and distilling four decades of rebellious spirit into one streamlined brand with a younger, semi-sportswear led ethos.

PS by Paul Smith's SS17 collection references travel, wanderlust and exploration as key themes. Whereas PS by Paul Smith's inaugural FW16 collection led with technical sportswear and athleticism (whether tracksuit technical or collegiate jersey), athletic stripes now sit alongside colorful, tropical prints. Motifs are either repeated on pieces bold and central or hidden and secretive through surprise detailing. Outerwear is a highlight for the PS by Paul Smith's second season, with the line strengthening Paul Smith's ties to Japan with its own take on the classic souvenir jacket.

However, post-punk continues to run through the line as a general anchor, while Paul Smith's reputation for sharp tailoring shines through but in more a relaxed guise. Jackets therefore appear unstructured, shirting is light and cut straight, boxy and loose, while trousers are tailored to give off a subtle sportswear vibe.

Of course, the effect that punk had on the world of fashion is still being felt today. Fueled by an individualist spirit, it championed personal expression and style against stifling normality and blandness. It has become one of the aesthetic anchors of modern menswear, and which makes PS by Paul Smith feel both current and relevant while still being easily traceable to the past.

But a key sub-cultural signifier of everything that has happened after punk is the ease in which tropes, ideas and looks are borrowed across different subcultural movements. In a sense, the choice of London designer Fergus Purcell to design the new PS logo fits easily with the character of the new Paul Smith line.

Purcell’s skating background and the attitude that that gives him slots in perfectly with Paul Smith’s own maverick ethos. "I don’t really think that anything, in terms of a visual, belongs to anyone," commented Purcell in a recent interview on these same pages in sentences that best sum up punk, post-punk, and the overall menswear climate that PS by Paul Smith is now helping to shape. "It’s all up for grabs to be played with."

The SS17 collection is available now online and at the new PS by Paul Smith stores, including in London’s Beak Street, Soho, and Langley Court in Covent Garden.

Deep dive into the new PS by Paul Smith collection here, or see the designer introduce his Mayfair flagship store in our exclusive film with writer and directer Paul Black, shot in 2014.

What To Read Next

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Zooming in on Louis Vuitton's First Runway Show Without Virgil

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Debunking Fragrance in Skincare Myths With Dr. Z

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Unpacking The Ordinary's “Skinification of Hair”

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Therabody's TheraFace Is a Mini Massage Gun for Better Skin

    Culture
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Bored Ape NFTs Have Entered the Beauty Chat

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Bobbi Brown & Jones Road Made an Expletive-Inducing Foundation

    Culture
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titelmedia (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titelmedia strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titelmedia has engaged UsableNet Inc, a leading web accessibility consultant to help test, remediate and maintain our Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Disclaimer

Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.