Hello Paul

It’s rare that you get a candid glimpse into the life of one of your favourite iconic designers. An insight that doesn’t feel completely edited beyond recognition and so polished that you wonder if the curator got a look in edgeways. Today I spent a few very lovely few hours wondering through the Design Museum’s latest fashion offering – Hello my name is Paul Smith. A retrospective take on his humble beginnings through to his creative working space, his personal journey along the way and a curious glance into the inner workings of the creative forces behind Paul Smith ‘the brand’.

Also featuring displays of personal objects of inspiration, whilst seemingly chaotic, you got a sense that this was how he liked his creative spaces to be – high spirited and oh so colourful, much like the collections he has become so respected for. It’s this raw curation that made you realise that behind the behemoth brand, there’s a very down to earth guy from Nottingham who simply wishes to create a more colourful everyday life.

Starting at the very beginning, it featured a scale model of his first shop from which he first started trading under the Paul Smith label, it went right through to behind the scenes footage of how they create their catwalk shows each season. A multi media exhibition that strove to highlight that whilst being a brand with a deep rooted respect for traditional craftsmanship, tailoring and fashion construction, the brand is continually seeking to develop a strong global future for itself which, considering its very modest beginnings, is an impressive feat considering its already world renowned success.

There was a very touching homage to his wife, Pauline, without whom he claimed he couldn’t have achieved what he has and just as you leave thinking he really couldn’t be portrayed as a more grounded and general all round nice chap, low and behold he appeared in the foyer of the museum gladly handing out signatures, posing for selfies and chatting to fellow enthusiasts. What a guy!

Hello, my name is Paul Smith runs until 15 March at the Design Museum.

The Paul Smith x Mini Cooper collaboration

The design team’ creative working space

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Two enormous walls filled with Paul’s personal collection of art and prints, many of which have been sent to him by Paul Smith fans over the years

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The office filled with ephemera collected over the years

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Highlights from his fashion collections over the years

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The Paul Smith philosophy – a perfect ending.