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SF Fashion Week

Sir Paul Smith’s darling country club aristocrats have been getting into their father’s wardrobes. Clad in men’s suiting, rescaled for their delicate and slender figures, these girls in thick tortoise specs are resonating with Katherine Hepburn’s infamous remark, “A woman can’t always do what she needs in stockings.”

Initially setting a masculine tone with a brown pantsuit, blue dress shirt and chocolate cardigan ensemble, the seasoned designer reaffirmed his message of boyish élan with a long procession of tucked in sweaters, roomy coulettes, streamlined overcoats, tailored trousers and leather Humphrey Bogart trench coats. The collection featured a few polka dot dresses and sleeveless sheaths clinched at the waist, but playful, feminine allure was not the point. In fact, this winter Mr. Smith seems to be all about Garbo and Dietrich’s elegantly chic version of gender bending. Out with ladylike propriety and in with subtle defiance.

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