February and March are THE months of International Fashion Weeks, starting with New York and ending with Paris – my absolute favorite – no need for explanation here!
Now that London Fashion Week ended, I want to celebrate Fashion and show you some pictures I took last year when I visited Design Museum in London. It was on my bucket list for a long time and I was really lucky to discover that Paul Smith has opened an exhibition there at that time. For this event he released even a book with the name “Hello, my name is Paul Smith” and an I-pad application, to coincide with the exhibition.
I was really impressed to discover Paul Smith universe, a world of creation and inspiration, wit and beauty.
I don’t know if I told you until now but One of my favorite Fashion Designers is Paul Smith. I love all his collections for his honest and effortless way of dressing. A leader of international design trends Paul is renowned for his creative spirit and his influence in the Fashion World. The exhibition celebrated his entire career to date, drawing Paul Smith personal archive, from the company’s beginnings in Nottingham to its international prominence today.
Paul Smith is Britain’s foremost designer and I was so happy to discover an unique insight into his magnificent mind. I had the chance to explore his inspirations and understand just a little the method behind his magic by visiting the museum. The exhibition deliver rich insight into the world of Paul Smith, charting the rise of one of the world’s leading fashion brands.
The “Hello, my name is Paul Smith” exhibition will explore how the designer’s unique creative intuition together with an understanding of the roles of designer and retailer, have laid the foundations for the company’s lasting success. Produced in association with the Design Museum, the book offers also a rich visual experience, illustrated throughout with hand-drawn designs, archival photographs and engaging essays. This colorful catalogue weaves together with the exhibition a compelling visual tale of Paul Smith‘s prestigious projects and creative processes.
From humble beginnings in a Paris hotel suite in 1976, the company now shows seasonally in London and Paris fashion weeks and includes fourteen different collections. As a result, and in spite of its scale, Paul Smith has retained something unique, a personal touch.
I toured the exhibition, where highlights include a recreation of Paul’s office, a multimedia ride around his mind and a wall packed with more than 70,000 buttons!
The size of his first shop was 3 meters square with no windows and was opened in 1970 in Nottingham. Initially the shop was opened just Friday and Saturday, the rest of the week he was doing freelance jobs to earn some money.
“It is important to have a dream but also to be able to support that dream.”
He always said that he can take inspiration from anything and that ideas come from anywhere. Literally anything can spark off an idea. He is tracking all the countless images and ideas that came into his head with a digital camera and a notebook with sketches, telephone numbers and words. The museum has even a room that draws his extensive photographic archive, showing how he found inspiration from observing people look.
He owe everything to his wife Pauline who encouraged him to start his own business and taught him the importance of proportion, quality, cut and the understanding of how clothes are made. Pauline studied FASHION at the Royal College of Art, London and came to Nottingham as a part time tutor at the School of Art & Design. She taught him the key elements of the business of fashion.
His first collection comprised of just six shirts, two jumpers and two suits. Only one person was interested in buying something and that was the beginning of his business. His first show was in a friend’s flat on the boulevard Vaugirard, but it was crowded and very successful.
One of his passions is photography inspired by his father. He always has a camera with him and he is taking photographs wherever he is in this world. it’s like a visual diary for him. he even take photographs for the campaigns.
When it comes to shops he like individuality and he designed all their own shops. He wants each one of them to have his own character and to reflect some setting in one way.
Every Paul Smith shop is different with a unique design approach behind each one. The shops are completely modern but with a sense of traditional values in the way that customers are treated. He wants that each person who visit his shops to have a pleasant and memorable experience even if they don’t buy anything. In his shops you’ll always find interesting objects of art and many surprises set between beautifully tailored clothing.
Paul Smith LOVES Colors. His stripes are very popular because they are colorful. Color makes people happy. And if it used in a proper way, color can add interest and express positivity. He adds color in his collections to classic garments in the form of linings, or simply as punctuation marks.
And the most important is that he is always traveling. His collections are influenced by his travels around the world. Past collections have featured Afghan jackets, Chinese sequinned cheongsams, Indian embroidered velvet kaftans and men shirts printed with the names of Buenos Aires warriors. Every year he makes at least two trips to Japan, which is one of his most important markets. He buys his fabrics from Italy and France.
Print has always been a hugely important feature in his collections. It started as a way of adding individuality to menswear – pairing a simple navy suit with a floral shirt. Paul Smith was one of the first designers that used photographic print technique on fabric. Imagery on shirts has ranged from flowers, apples, leaves, clouds, kittens, jellyfish to a plate of plastic spaghetti. Over the years he extended prints to t-shirts, bags, scarves and jacket linings.
Now that you have seen where it all have started and how it works, let’s find out the final process:
the Fashion Shows.
There are four important fashion shows per year – two for men in Paris and two for women in London. Paul Smith said that he’s not a big fan of fashion shows but they are necessary part of the fashion theater and the final ingredient of a recipe that has been cooking on the stove for six months. The purpose of these fashion shows is to put his clothes in front of the journalists and buyers from around the world. He also shows his clothes in all the showrooms from Milan, Paris, London, Tokyo and New York.
Now…because it’s time to renew our wardrobe let’s inspire from his collection for Spring/Summer 2015 that I really love.
Inspired by women with self-confidence and style, I like that effortless way of dressing and natural behavior. Paul Smith means cool urban girls, the kind that are happiest in flats and their boyfriend’s cotton shirts. The palette of colors is light and the fabrics have an elegant delicacy. All his collection has a sophisticated masculine feel, easing into summer on a wave of blue hues with stripes running across silk separates. Gold bracelets and sunglasses framed in pink and purple add an accent of color to the natural hair and raw beauty looks. The bags featured in almost every look, from backpacks to relaxed folded totes, are especially made for a wardrobe that chic and comfortable in. The effortlessness feeling is maintained by super chic flat sandals and strapped stilettos constructed in raw leather.
“A modern girl can wear these clothes,” said Smith after his show in London backstage.
“The fabrics were linen or cotton but there was a structure about them which gave them this bounce and they had life. The woman is not looking for attention through her clothing. She’s happy in her own skin.”
Paul Smith has an obsession with the bouncy quality of sportswear fabrics and is on a mission to introduce that feeling into his classical designs.
Wear this stuff to live in!
This was Paul Smith message for Spring/Summer 2015!