Paul Smith takes his cue from English schoolboy
Sun Jan 25, 4:00 PM EST




PARIS – The English schoolboy, with his tweed-heavy wardrobe and penchant for irreverent mixing and matching, had the run of the catwalk at British designer Paul Smith's show on Sunday.

The collection was whimsical and fun even if Smith, whose flair for giving classics a twist has won him a worldwide following, didn't stray far from his label's hallmark style.

Tweed professor blazers were paired with slim plaid trousers and smart wool jackets were worn over cycling jerseys in bright primary colors. Flashes of hot pink lining peaked out from a blazer in oatmeal-colored houndstooth.

Bow-ties largely replaced conventional neckties, somehow managing to look dapper and not too out of place on the teenage models.

The same cannot be said for the show's clunky plastic eyeglasses. Those wearing the heavy, Clark Kent-style frames looked as if they were itching to rip off the nerd gear and re-emerge in tights and spandex.

Smith said the show's emphasis on accessories — which also included colorful shoes and scarves — was a response to the financial crisis.

"During recessionary times, people maybe spend money on smaller things as a (cost-effective) way of adding to their wardrobe," Smith told The Associated Press backstage. Still, he said the brand, which sells some 3 million pieces a year, has yet to be affected by the economic downturn.


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