E-commerce site Mr. Porter has unveiled a new collection by Paul Smith in which the British designer draws inspiration from “Take Ivy.”

According to the website’s announcement,

Sir Paul, who has been at the forefront of British fashion for five decades, is well placed to explain how Ivy style first came to the UK from the US. “In London the Ivy look was brought in by a lot of the GIs who were stationed out in places such as Cambridgeshire. They came into London at the weekends and went to clubs such as The Scene, in Soho. There was quite an interest in the way these guys dressed, because they looked so cool and slick.” In Sir Paul’s opinion, “The clothes are quite timeless, and there’s always been a hard core of fans.” That classic appeal brings a practical advantage: “It’s a look you can easily wear with your existing wardrobe,” he says.

And as those who’ve followed this website know, Ivy in the UK is associated not with the WASP establishment (save for popular icons such as the Kennedys), but with the world of jazz:

For the designer, the Kennedy clan – “all of them” – are the icons of the Ivy look. “There are lovely pictures of Jack wearing Converse All-Stars, regular trousers and a pale-coloured sweater with patch elbows. It’s the whole Hamptons look.” However, Sir Paul’s other source of Ivy inspiration comes from the music scene. “For me it was very much about the jazz era; Blue Note [a US jazz label] album covers always had these very cool-looking guys, with a very sharp look,” he remembers. “Herbie Hancock and John Coltrane were the guys who stood out as being very well dressed.”

As for the clothes, when the best item in your collection is a gray sweatshirt, perhaps you need to be more inspired.

And in other quasi-Ivy UK news….

The battle for young fashion preps is heating up. Rugby staked its claim several years ago, and Brooks Brothers has been amping up its youthful sportswear and opened its Flatiron store this past year complete with video games.

The latest entry, at least according to the May issue of GQ, is Jack Wills, a UK-based company that combines “British boarding school and American frat house” looks and operates 11 stores strategically located near college campuses. — CC