Hello and Welcome to the Curious World of Paul Smith
According to Wikipedia, the gestation period for a donkey is 365 days – roughly the same time taken to put together Hello, My Name Is Paul Smith at London’s Design Museum.
The exhibition curator, Donna Loveday, has done a brilliant job – especially finding someone to fix 70,000 buttons to the wall. We’re curious to know if any unpaid interns or fashion students were involved?
Seriously, the show is another that is not to be missed. There’s so much to see in such a small space: It’s like Where’s Wally for the design world. Judging by the turn out at the press preview, you’ll be reading lots about this show… and you’re advised to buy a ticket in advance.
Meantime, here are some curious facts about the life and times of the incredible Mr Smith (latterly Sir Paul):
1) His first (1970) shop measured 12 foot square and was managed by an Afghan Hound, bearing a curiously uncanny resemblance to the designer.
2) Behind every successful man there’s an even more brilliant woman – and Paul’s wife Pauline is ‘the one.’
3) His office is a sort of Kunstkammer-meets-the-Tardis – there’s a recreation of it in the show.
4) He finds inspiration in everything – especially rabbits.
5) Wherever he goes, Paul Smith generates media frenzy.
6) He’s a great collaborator.
7) He gesticulates a lot.
8) He’s done amazingly well for someone who left school at 16 with no formal qualifications. His first collection was presented in a hotel room in Paris, where only one buyer turned up at the very last moment.
9) He’s curious about everything – especially photography and collecting.
10) He swims at 5.15 every morning (sorry, we don’t have any photographs showing that).
You’ll find out an awful lot more about Paul Smith from this most revealing of shows. For those with a particular interest in fashion, you’ll get to see not just the inside of his workroom, but also the inside of his mind.
Plus, a selection of his designs is on display, divided into four categories: British Tradition, Travel, Colour and Print… and a behind the scenes fashion show film shown on Sony televisions and shot in spectacularly lifelike 4K.
The more commercially minded may take inspiration from Sir Paul’s Shops – each being true to the brand, yet at the same time quirky and unique.
He’s not done too badly for a would-be cyclist from Nottingham.
In his own words this is an exhibition that “comes from the heart and not from the wallet,” though should you so desire, there are mementos galore for sale in the museum shop. Enjoy!