LONDON — Paul Smith on Wednesday unveiled the second iteration of the &PaulSmith collaboration series with the New York-based label Commission, founded by Dylan Cao and Jin Kay, following an inaugural capsule with the London-based designer Priya Ahluwalia.
The 22-piece capsule collection features a long wool-cashmere overcoat, a structured double-breasted brown worsted wool suit, and a yellow leather field jacket, as well as wardrobe staples with accentuated details like point collars, low peak lapels, on-seam pockets, slightly fatherly stripes and bold red touches.
As “an apparent synergy” was formed from the first meeting, both sides began to on a collection mostly inspired by “Father & Son,” a book of photographs taken by Smith and his father Harold Smith, published after the latter’s passing in 2000.
The idea of family resonated with Commission’s ethos. The brand offers modern outfits fit for the Big Apple lifestyle with their Eastern point of view. Cao and Kay are first-generation U.S. immigrants from Vietnam and South Korea, respectively. They launched the brand in 2018 with the goal to reframe and elevate how Asian culture is represented in Western fashion.
Very often, the brand’s collections are based on the wardrobes of their parents’ generation, bringing back elements of nostalgia and uniform dressing, often pulled from straight from family photo albums.
Paul Smith’s archive in Nottingham, collections from 1997 to 1998 and 2002 to 2003 to be precise, also served as a source of inspiration to the duo behind Commission.
“Tapping into new ideas is exactly why I wanted to start the &PaulSmith series, Smith said. “Commission are brimming with them. I also have a huge sense of pride in our archive and I’m so glad that Cao and Kay have been inspired by pieces from past collections and put their own truly unique spin on them.”
The duo added: “There’s a richness to his archive during the late ’90s that resonates with us, where its masculinity seemed like a mash-up of preppy, sex and post-punk, yet highly functional and romantic. Our approach to products and storytelling was similar in that it’s an eclectic mismatch of various narratives and undercurrents.”
The CFDA acted as a broker in this collaboration, as it presented a shortlist of candidates for the collaboration by private referral.
As part of the collaboration, Paul Smith will also provide mentorship to Commission.