STYLE
02/19/2012 02:48 EST | Updated 04/20/2012 05:12 EDT

Paul Smith shows masculine, tailored sexiness at London Fashion Week catwalk

LONDON - Trends may come and go but there is one constant at London Fashion Week: carefully tailored clothing at Paul Smith's womenswear runway show.

The designer, one of Britain's most commercially successful and best known for his men's suits, stuck to his favourite slim, androgynous silhouette for his autumn and winter collection Sunday.

Like in his previous collections, models wore fitted blazers, skinny trousers, narrowly cut, high-necked sweaters, and had mannish, boyfriend coats draped nonchalantly over their shoulders.

Colours were muted, with greys, mustard, jade and burgundy dominating. There was a lot of velvet and tweed, and the designer also played with contrasting fabrics, including pairing a smoking jacket with brocade trousers.

There's subtle sex appeal in the modest clothing, Smith said.

"I don't think you need to see skin necessarily to respect the female form," he told reporters backstage after the show.

The most feminine look of the collection featured a sheer top that's made of a see-through, shimmery black material, with a man's white dress shirt collar. Worn under an evening suit, the effect was elegant but daring.

Smith said that his new collection was "lean" in more than one way — they were versatile clothes appropriate for economically austere times.

"The times are difficult, so most of that (seen on the catwalk) you can add to an existing collection," he said.