Thursday, November 29, 2012

Paul Smith Marrying History, Business Savvy Strategy and Design

With Sir Paul Smith growing his business against a struggling economy, his menswear collection for Spring/Summer 2013 reflects an industry champion status.

Menswear is headed for brighter pastures, literally and Paul Smith’s coming collection captures spring in a bottle. With a nostalgic color pallet throwing minds back to the cinematic feats of Grey Gardens and Edward Scissor Hands, kodachromatic color was key. Weaving this with whimsical holidays with the Kennedys in muted pastels, Smith creates an escape from the cold before it has even begun.

While the collection has been praised as wonderful and wonderful as it may be, the overall color pallet is nothing entirely new to the market. We have seen bright pops of color and toned down pastels for many seasons. Fueled by the brand’s signature tailoring, the collection is a market pleaser and will surely sell itself. I personally found the fall/winter collection much more original and inspiring, despite average reviews. The collection was based on the world of The Deep Blue, with pops of neon to reflect bio-luminescence and coats inspired by sailors of the turn of the century. The concept was beautifully executed and evident through all product categories in the collection and in store. Although not to everyone’s liking and an underwhelming market response, it had character.

With spring/summer pre-collection hitting stores already, the response has been overwhelming and a welcomed changed from the bleakness of winter fashion. Consumers are enjoying bright pops and pastels and once again hailing the color block. The decision to compromise clear inspiration for people pleasing pastels isn't extremely apparent to the market, but most definitely seems like a tactical to draw in sales during economic downtime and a strategic linchpin for business expansion measures. The spring/summer season is aligned to the brand’s design DNA, but by no means is it a measure of innovation and market leadership. The collection coming stands to represent market demands instead. Furthermore it represents business tact and success.

In closing, I think Paul Smith is more than just a designer; he’s a strategist and understands the weigh off between design, inspiration and business. 

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