English aristocrats punk up at Paul Smith's London show

LONDON, Feb 22, 2010 (AFP) -Flat caps, floral prints and riding jackets brought a little bit of English country life to London on Monday 22 February in Paul Smith's latest collection inspired by a single tweed jacket from the 1950s.

Paul Smith
Photo: AFP/Ben Stansall

Known for twisting classic styles, Smith's autumn/winter 2010 range at London Fashion Week focused on Britain's horse-riding, dog-loving aristocracy and their often rebellious children.

It all began with a jacket Smith found at Portobello Road second-hand clothes market in west London, which had a label inside showing it had been tailor-made for an upper-class woman in 1951.

"I based the entire collection on my imagination of that jacket," Smith told AFP before the show, set amid the old-school glamour of Claridges hotel.

"It started off quite aristocratic and quite upper-class and very much about the countryside, but then it's gone off into the naughty debutante daughter, who is up in London every weekend and parties like mad.

"She often borrows her mum's or her granny's rather elegant clothes but mixes them in a way that's very young."

The result was a beautiful mixture of pretty rose-print lilac dresses punked up with thick leather belts, a peach blouse tucked into turquoise see-through trousers, and a Barbour waterproof jacket over purple tights and orange boots.

A red riding coat with equestrian scenes on the inside lining and a bright yellow jacket with matching corset underneath were both worn with tight black trousers, and many models sported traditional farmers' tweed flat caps.

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