Paul Smith Fall/Winter 2014 Paris

By Alex Veblen
Jim Morrison, who died in Paris at the age of 27, would have turned 70 last month. But contemplating the rock icon as a septuagenarian could potentially lead to dark places. So with The Doors pumping through the domed atrium of the Bourse de Commerce and quarter notes woven into jacquards, the ever-ebullient Sir Paul Smith conjured up one of his music idols in a way that favored imagination over representation. Backstage after the show, Smith cited the importance of relaxing the silhouette this season; coats like dressing gowns, trousers as roomy as pajama bottoms, and jackets that neglected to nip the waist were the strongest examples.

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Smith was equally adamant that his vaguely ethnic rug patterns had been custom-designed to include the music motifs, all while underscoring hand-craftsmanship as a necessary constituent of the collection’s soul. Not that the look struggled to express personality; a leather hooded sweatshirt and tie-dyed jogging pants proposed yet another spin on men’s loungewear. Smith also wasn’t wrong to think that men welcome sequined sneakers (although the similarly shimmery Western shirt skewed more Mick than Jim). Smocks with tearaway side snaps seemed radically proportioned by Smith’s standards. But then he reminded us that he put David Bowie in a dramatic pair of trousers 30 years ago, which makes you realize he doesn’t exercise his feisty side enough. Or when he does, it usually plays out as pop—i.e. sweaters fronted with a large Lurex flamingo or a pair of palm trees (symbolizing the neon road signs of Morrison’s California years). Picturing Morrison in a cashmere robe coat and papery leather pants seemed just about right.

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