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Sewing, Style & Creative Writing
  • Paul Smith Exhibition

    Posted on 14/03/2014 by David in Fashion & Design Exhibitions.


    Think Paul Smith and you think colour, stripes, bags, shirts (as a matter of fact, I made one myself based on one of his prints) and much more! Paul Smith clearly represents one of the earliest lifestyle brands and the exhibition I saw yesterday, aptly but strangely named “Hello, my name is Paul Smith” for someone so instantly recognisable, was visually stunning in many ways.


    It was an immersive experience which took me from the life of a young Nottingham designer in a replica of his first shop – which was basically windowless postage stamp – to the illustrious global brand that Paul Smith represents today. It’s by no means a retrospective – as clearly highlighted by the designer himself – and I walked through a series of replica spaces which represented events that shaped the designer’s career.

    One of the most memorable moments was for me the visit of his office.

    Seriously, I would have trouble concentrating with all that paraphernalia around me! But as far as Paul Smith is concerned, surrounding himself with intriguing fabrics and objects provides him with diverse sources of inspiration and offers an insight into his eclectic tastes and mind. You can call it organised chaos I guess!

    I also enjoyed the replica of his Paris hotel room where Smith set up his first showroom in 1976. Apparently nobody came save for one buyer on the last day!


    I think that Paul Smith was keen to illustrate that his business was no overnight success but the product of hard work, a sensible approach to money (he never borrowed any to build his brand), a thinking and creative mind along with key collaborations with the likes of Mini and Fritz Hansen which undoubtedly explain the success and longevity of his career today.

    In one room in particular I was taken inside Smith’s brain thanks to state-of-the-art shiny Sony screens, where a building morphs into a flower which morphs into a print, representing some of the concepts that Paul Smith incorporate into his brand. Indeed technology played a major part during the exhibition as one of my personal highlights was the catwalk show displayed in the final room. It felt like a live experience to me and quite similar to the Alexander McQueen’s  S/S 2008 collection that I saw during the Isabella Blow exhibition  back in January.


    As you leave, there is a massive post-it on the wall with a typically upbeat note to self: “EVERY DAY IS A NEW BEGINNING.” It’s obvious that Paul Smith is the type of person who easily takes interest in most things (literature, art, objects, etc.) and demonstrates that curiosity isn’t just a quality but a skill to hone throughout one’s life.

    All above pictures are courtesy of Design Museum



7 Responses so far.

  1. Toby says:

    My husband and I were in London last month and we went to the Design Museum (once we had discovered it, it’s always on the schedule, whether we know what’s on offer or not) and saw the Paul Smith exhibit. What a hoot. There is no question in my mind, after seeing the part with actual clothing from his collections that Paul Smith is still in mourning for mid-late 60’s/early 70s hard rockers. A lot of the shirts and jackets were things that Jimmy Hendrix and the Stones would have worn every day. Great stuff.

    • David says:

      That’s very true Toby even though there is also a different side to it. I so enjoyed it too and can’t wait for the Jean-Paul Gaultier exhibition kicking off next month. If you are back to London then, that will be something memorable for sure!

  2. Delgado says:

    Renseignements glanés sur Wikipédia, passionné de cyclisme, c’est à la suite d’une chute à 17 ans que sorti de l’hôpital il “tomba” dans la mode tout à fa

  3. Delgado says:

    Incident technique je recommence lol :

    Passionné de cyclisme, c’est à la suite d’une chute qu’à la sortie de l’hôpital il “tomba” tout à fait par hasard dans le monde de la mode.
    J’y vois un signe du destin, une similitude, seras-tu également un grand couturier, un grand styliste ? A suivre….

    • David says:

      LOL! Je ne sais pas si c’est un signe du destin mais en tout cas c’est encourageant, qui sait? 🙂

  4. Maddie says:

    I don’t know a lot about Paul Smith, but anyone designer slowly climbed to the top through hard work, dedication and a clear vision is someone I look up to (for obvious reasons lol).

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