Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Designers in focus: Paul Smith

In order to stay ahead of the pack and get the look for your bespoke suit that makes you stand out from the crowd, I will be profiling designers over the next few weeks, so you can get a feel for what styles are out there and which you prefer. Knowing what look you’re aiming for always helps when choosing a bespoke suit and with so many variations abound, having a good sense of the overall impression you want to make, as well as what you want to wear with your suit is the best place to start.

So let's get started this week with our very own home-grown designer Paul Smith. The Paul Smith brand is worn proudly by many celebrities, including Daniel Day Lewis who recently accepted his BAFTA in a bespoke Paul Smith. Paul Smith’s suits are getting more attention than ever.

Paul Smith himself has coined the phrase “classic with a twist” to describe his own designs which he bases on traditional British men's clothing that he himself likes to wear. His “classic twist” style is reflected in the combination of the slim style suit that he has carved his own niche in and a floral shirt or a brightly coloured or kitsch printed tie. Bringing old-style tailoring up to date with a sense of British Rock ‘n’ Roll, the end result often hints toward a public school boy turned bad.

Knighted in 2001, Paul Smith is a long-standing and well-respected staple in the British and international fashion industry scene and also receives plenty of critical acclaim. Every item he produces in his 12 collections features his own signature multi-coloured pinstripe motif so you know you have an original; even some of his men's suits collections have hidden images of naked women and the iconic Big Ben in the cuffs. It is this sort of eccentric styling that has won Paul Smith the adoration of the industry and those that buy his men’s suits.

His latest collection to be launched for spring 2009 is a brilliant illustration of his love of striping; only now Paul Smith has moved into the realms of wider boating-style stripes. His upcoming autumn collection showcases multi-buttoned three-quarter length jackets and wide pinstriped tailored shirts. These are offset by dishevelled ties and trim, brightly coloured belts. It is this kind of play on traditional British wear that defines Paul Smith and sets him apart from the rest.

Designers in focus: Tom Ford

As promised I'm continuing to delve into the world of the men's suit designers who are turning heads worldwide, and this week I've been looking at the work of Tom Ford.
As an American designer famous for injecting a renewed sense of creativity at the Gucci fashion house in the 1990's, Tom Ford has worked his way up to the top of the fashion tree working for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent to become the official and singular tailor for James Bond.

This is clearly the utmost compliment from a character that is considered the last word in taste and style. Daniel Craig's interpretation of this timeless classic has won the Bond brand critical acclaim, swathes of fans both male and female, and is one of the peaks of Fords career.

Since Brioni have retired as Bond's official tailors (since Goldeneye), Ford is looking to the next Bond outing, Quantum Of Solace to put the ultimate final stamp of effortless cool on his brand, which has now become famous for being famous.

Having launched his own brand, Tom Ford, only a year after his departure from Yves Saint Laurent, his sunglasses were the first part of his repertoire that first caught the attention of the celebrity jet-set, with the likes of Brad Pitt rarely seen without a pair. Now Pitt has moved up a few notches and was seen sporting a bespoke Tom Ford suit at Cannes this year. Proving how his bespoke suits and shoes receive the highest critical acclaim and celebrity endorsement even before the Bond contract, wearing the Tom Ford brand has become a comment on individuality in celebrity circles.

All of Tom Ford's menswear exudes a luxurious style and has won over the rich and famous as well as Mr Bond himself. Each of Tom Ford's bespoke suits is crafted in Italy to the customer's exact needs and exudes an air of quality and expert tailoring. According to the Tom Ford philosophy regarding bespoke menswear, “Style is an expression of personal choices made many times over.”

Looking at Tom Ford's collection brings about a sense of explicit sexuality and the cut of his trousers (whether as separates or as part of his men's suits) is as fitted as possible without being crass. The very definite waistline in these strides gives a man a reason to stand up straight and with that comes a sense of confidence and panache.

In order to emulate this kind of style in your choice of men's suit you will need the finest fabric you can afford and a definite confidence in your waistline. Combining these figure-hugging trousers with a Bond style jacket will give you a reason to put your suit on whatever the occasion.