Paul Smith A/W11 Womenswear

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Paul Smith A/W11
Paul Smith A/W11Illustrations by Tom Baxter

This season, Paul Smith's womenswear collection made reference to musician and visual artist Patti Smith, the late British sculptor and artist Henry Moore and roses...

On occasions, a show soundtrack can provide clues to a designer's line of thought. This was true for Paul Smith who opened his autumn/winter 2011 show in the Savoy ballroom with the haunting sound of Patti Smith's Free Money, from her debut 1975 album Horses. The American singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist is a perfect fit for Paul – he is a designer who favours the boyish look she wore so well, "I was listening to a lot of Patti's music when I was designing the collection – it definitely had an impact." This included boxy blazers and overcoats, crisp white shirts, waistcoats, smart ankle-length trousers, bright patent flats and loafers. The styling, courtesy of the newly appointed Natalie Marchal, gave an added edge. Simple details such as tucking the models' hair into collars (a look which Phoebe Philo is often seen sporting) made it feel modern.

The Nottingham-born designer is also fond of a British reference and this season was no exception. The rose, the woody perennial often associated with 'Englishness' featured in prints for a number of the designs in the latter part of the 37-look collection. The five-petal flowers are a favoured subject in art and design, often appearing in portraits, illustrations, on stamps or as architectural elements. Smith's roses were embroidered across Chinese silk dresses and slips. This puts Smith in the season's floral print trend also seen at Jil Sander and Erdem.

Smith also took inspiration from the work of Henry Moore, the late British sculptor and artist, best known for his abstract monumental bronze sculptures and carved marble sculptures. Moore is often referred to as the voice of sculpture and played a key role in introducing a particular form of modernism to the UK. Collaborating with the Henry Moore Foundation, which supports education and promotion of the arts, Smith had unprecedented access to the artist's carefully preserved art and sculpture archive. Prints featuring Moore's iconic illustrations of abstract human figures, appeared in various colours on clothing, silk scarves, ties and holdalls. The collection also acknowledges Moore's modern forms, fluid lines, organic colour palette and definitive tones.

The Paul Smith & Henry Moore collection goes on sale on September 2011.

Text by Laura Bradley

Laura Bradley is the Commissioning Editor of AnOther and published her first series of Fashion Equations in May 2008. Tom Baxter is an illustrator currently living and working in London.