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Saturday, 16 November 2013

Inside the amazing multicoloured world of Paul Smith

Darlings ... I've only just recovered from a momentous week - flitting between press shows and launches in a fabulous fashion frenzy. Jaeger, Karen Millen and Joules all launched forthcoming Spring Summer 14 collections this week, Hacketts newly fitted store opened on London's Regent St and the busy week culminated in a Thursday evening launch of the Design Museum's fashion exhibition; Hello - My name is Paul Smith. 

A discreet and pin sharp crowd of design intelligentsia gathered to hear Mr. Smith open the exhibition with his usual cool yet understated approach.

Inside the head of the inspirational Mr Paul Smith

Arranged in a series of tall white rooms - the exhibit was anything but  colourless. Entering through the tiny space that replicated Paul Smith's first shop in Nottingham, we were led into an amazing hall which was tall by contrast. The walls were covered in inspiration images that have likely also papered the inside of Mr. Smiths head for over 25 years. Jam-packed with tearsheets, paintings, drawings and artwork - every inch of space was covered. My eyes darted from frame to frame not knowing where to rest - it was plain simple sensory overload, Dear Readers! Intensely overwhelming and mesmerising, Miss Mannequin is rarely transfixed: the keen crowd around me obviously felt the same. More was to follow.....

who needs wallpaper with walls this inspiring?
A recreation of both Paul's personal office and his design team's studio had desks, shelves and walls literally spilling out their cornucopia of random creative objects everywhere. Stunned by the sheer abundance of it all we were rooted to the spot by the sudden youthful appearance of Mr. Smith himself. Bounding in, he launched into an unexpected and impassioned explanation of some the workings of the studio. Humble and earnest in his approach, he showed us how the brand developed the famous striped designs (not as you would imagine on a computer) and how they took old reference images and transformed them into the famous contemporary prints that his clients worldwide love. It was obvious that he is not a remote head of his empire - but an enthusiastic and essential part of the team's creativity.

Sir Paul explains his design ethos
On and on the show went - cars, shoes, cycling accoutrements, radios - all swirling and vying for attention in a kaleidoscopic explosion of colour: a gallery of his eponymous clothing designs (shown on bustforms donated by my mates over at proportion london) and a video explaining how one of Sir Paul's fashion shows is put together - we were reeling at the overall richness of the event. 

Amongst the glitterati I spotted Sir Terence Conran, Ron Arad, Alice Rawsthorne and Neville Brody. I shook hands with the man himself and we chortled at how empty and stark his office must look at present; what with the contents being despatched away for the show. 

Somehow with Sir Paul's magpie instinct I doubt his office will be empty for long; filling up again fairly quickly and refuelling his imagination for some time to come....I do hope so.

Miss Mannequin left the show a happy and tipsy dolly - from the champagne you ask?......no, from the feelgood factor all that colour and inspiration imparts. 

The turbo-charged Paul Smith mini - go faster stripes never looked so good!

Mad-cap design hoarder Paul Smith rifles through his eclectic treasure trove

Paul Smith's crowded office
The exhibition: Hello my name is Paul Smith runs until March 9th 2014
for more details click on this link

For more information on proportion london bust forms visit: proportionlondon.com

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