PAUL SMITH, the designer synonymous with British menswear, launches his womenswear range in Paris next week. The collection, available this spring, has borrowed the essentials of Paul Smith menswear, with mannish suits and fine tailoring.

The silhouette is lean: jackets are long with narrow shoulders and the trousers (which come in six different styles) are slim. Using influences as diverse as India, Bali and Savile Row means that there is more on offer than pinstripe - antique ikat fabrics are mixed with linen, silk and wool.

The suits are made in Italy (in agreement with the designer group GIBO) with all the attention to detail that makes good menswear. Expect inside pockets, hand stitching and vivid linings, along with skirted jackets with fishtail cuffs in spearmint, caramel, and duck-egg blue. Worn with one of the many styles of white shirts, they could provide the sort of staple wardrobe women crave. And being the canny designer he is, Smith has realised that not all women interested in fashion are a perfect size 10. His suits go from size 8 to 18.

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