Fashions at bottom of garden

PAUL SMITH showed his spring/summer 2000 collection at London Fashion Week yesterday, amid the quintessentially English greenery of the Chelsea Physic Gardens. The designer introduced his womenswear line to the British catwalk four seasons ago, and it has since gone from strength to strength.

This season, Paul Smith's Women travelled to all four corners of the globe for inspiration. Crisp white linen trouser suits, lined in lime green, were followed by safari jackets worn with the tiniest of hot pants. Even schoolboy blazers were teamed with itsy-bitsy, paisley print bikinis. For evening, a more exotic look came to the fore. Jewel-coloured sarong skirts, heavily embroidered, were worn with masculine jackets.

The mood was sweetly optimistic, and Smith has every reason to be in good spirits, considering that he is Britain's most financially successful designer - his annual turnover now exceeds pounds 140 million. Proof, if any was needed, that his idiosyncratic style is a winning formula.

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