Paul Smith's 50th Anniversary Capsule Collection
To mark five decades of innovative British design, Paul revives and reworks key graphics from his print archive, presenting them as a collection of clothes, shoes and accessories for men and women.
Paul was among the first to introduce photographic print to menswear in the 1980s, establishing himself as a pioneer of print design. The archive graphics in this capsule collection span a period from 1988 to 2002. Perhaps the most striking is the spaghetti print, which was first seen in autumn/winter '94.
The original spaghetti shirt was the product of Paul’s love of Japanese culture, his desire to innovate and his mischievous and surrealist eye for design. On an early visit to Tokyo in the 1980s, Paul discovered an area of the city that’s famous for producing fake plates of food to display outside restaurants. "I bought the plate of spaghetti in the 1980s and it sat in my office for many years", he remembers. “Then I discovered photographic printing. There was a particular company in Italy that was doing this wonderful printing, so one day I photographed the spaghetti and it became this rather kitsch shirt print.”
The spaghetti print became an instant bestseller and photo print was quickly established as a signature of Paul’s work. As an entre to the spaghetti course, this apple print was first produced in Paul’s spring/summer '90 collection.
"The idea of using the apple at that time was probably to do with my interest in graphic design", says Paul, “the ‘less is more’ approach and simplicity. I’d been to Vienna and there is a famous post office there built by the architect Otto Wagner. It’s all glass and steel and I’d fallen in love with that simplicity of the building. Around the same time I’d fallen in love with the work of the Bauhaus and Le Corbusier so it was this mélange of information that led to the apple print.”
As well as graphic hoodies, knitwear and sweatpants, the apple motif also appears on a collection of accessories. These include bucket hats and baseball caps, plus drawstring bags and cross-body bags.
Floral prints have been a recurring theme of Paul’s design work since he opened his first shop in 1970. Since then, he has taken inspiration from seed packets, vintage floral prints and flowers themselves - particularly roses. This women’s floral jumper taps into that history.
To balance this casual mood of the capsule collection, this devoré velvet suit - designed with an intricate floral pattern - explores another of Paul’s signatures: tailoring. The original version of the suit was first appeared on the spring/summer '98 runway in Paris and Paul has returned to the same family-run fabric mill in France to source fabric for this new version.