Paul Smith (fashion designer)
Paul Smith at Fall 2007 London Fashion Week
5 July 1946 |
Sir Paul Smith, CBE, RDI, (born 5 July 1946) is an English fashion designer, whose business and reputation is founded upon his menswear. He is both commercially successful and highly respected within the fashion industry.
Smith was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000, after nearly three decades as a menswear icon. His collections of clothing and accessories for both men and women are usually identified by the presence of Smith's multistripe signature somewhere on each item.
Paul Smith left school at the age of 14, a member of Beeston Road Club his only ambition was to become a racing cyclist until his father hauled him off to work at a clothing warehouse. Smith had no real interest in his work during his first two years there except for the cycle journey to and from his home. A terrible cycling accident put an end to his cycling ambitions, and it was only then that Smith's career in fashion design began. He enjoyed his job and had forgotten everything about cycling. Six months in hospital followed and during this time Smith made some new friends. After leaving hospital, he arranged to meet them all at a local pub that was popular with art students. It was then that Paul Smith knew he wanted to be part of this colourful world of ideas, excitement, and fashion.
Paul Smith started to take evening classes for tailoring with Gordon Valentine Tipton in Nottinghamshire, who showed him how to cut cloth as well as the basics. Later on, Paul Smith joined Lincroft Kilgour in Savile Row after being spotted by chairman Harold Tillman, where his designs were worn by celebrities including footballer George Best. With the help of his then girlfriend (now wife) Pauline Denyer, who was an RCA fashion graduate, and a small amount of savings, he managed to open his first shop 10 Byard Lane, Nottingham in 1970. By 1976, Paul showed his first menswear collection in Paris, under the Paul Smith label, in an apartment owned by people, who later design for the Byblos label. He gradually expanded the retail business, being the first fashion brand to open on Floral Street in London's Covent Garden in 1979, where his shop offered an eclectic combination of clothes and 'finds' for men which reflected his own magpie personality.
The international growth of his business began and most famously in Japan, where his British designs have been particularly popular, while he expanded into three adjacent stores on Floral Street. A converted town-house in Notting Hill, London opened in 1998 and is now his flagship shop, with the company's operational heart remaining between Nottingham and London. In 1998 Paul showed his first women's collection at London Fashion Week, the women's mainline collection continues to this day.
Since 2007, Smith has opened shops in Dubai, Bangalore, Leeds, Antwerp, Los Angeles, and another shop in London, in addition to a brand new warehouse building in Nottingham.
Paul Smith remains fully involved in the business, designing clothes, choosing fabrics, approving the shop locations and overseeing every development within the company. He has showrooms in London, Paris, Milan, New York, and Tokyo. For the London Olympics, he worked to design the London Olympics posters and signs.
The success of Smith's business may be attributed to his understanding of his dual roles of both designer and retailer; the success of his designs to his combination of the classic and the quirky. and which allows men to buy relatively traditional (and hence commercially popular) designs that offer a 'twist' of individuality. In September 2010 Smith opened his first standalone women's wear store in Mayfair, London. In 2010 a unique monograph of Smith was published under the title You Can Find Inspiration in Everything (*And If You Can't, Look Again!), by Violette Editions.
Partnerships and other business pursuits
In 2007, Smith began working with the UK based boutique cycle clothing retailer, Rapha. Smith designed a range of cycle clothing in association with Rapha, including a jersey to celebrate the rare start of the Tour de France in London.
Since May 2008, Paul Smith has written a fashion blog for Vogue.co.uk.
Paul Smith provided suits for the Manchester United team in 2009.
Today there are 12 different collections; Paul Smith, Paul Smith Women, PS by Paul Smith, Paul Smith Jeans, Paul Smith London, R.Newbold (Japan only), Paul Smith Accessories, Paul Smith Shoes, Paul Smith Fragrance, Paul Smith Watches, Paul Smith Pens and Paul Smith furniture and ‘things’; Paul Smith rugs, china, spectacles and fragrance are made under license. Designed in Nottingham and London, the Paul Smith collections are primarily produced in England and Italy while the fabrics used are mainly of Italian, French and British origin. In 2002, Paul Smith collaborated with Cappellini to create the Mondo collection of furniture inspired by observation and travel. In 2003, Paul designed an upholstery textile in partnership with Maharam, called ‘Bespoke’, which was inspired by classic pinstripe suiting.
- "Paul Smith : Fashion Designer (1946–)". Design Museum.
- Tim Lewis (27 October 2008). "My Sporting Life: Paul Smith". The Observer. UK.
- "Paul Smith Biography and profiles of fashion designers".
- "Jared Wilson met up with Sir Paul Smith". LeftLion.co.uk.
- Lipke, David (7 November 2013). "Paul Smith's Quirky Path to Prominence". WWD. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
- "Paul Smith". productdose.com.
- Chevalier, Michel (2012). Luxury Brand Management. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-17176-9.
- William Leith (26 June 2000). "Savile Row meets Mr Bean It's been a good month for the man who made pinstripes 'ironic' – he's about to launch his first scent and he's been knighted". London Evening Standard. UK.
- "Paul Smith – London Fashion Designer". New York Fashion.
- You Can Find Inspiration in Everything (*And If You Can't, Look Again!) on Violette Editions
- Rodale, Inc. (August 2007). Bicycling. Rodale, Inc. pp. 38–. ISSN 00062073. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
- Jason Gay (1 April 2009). "In These Clothes, You Can Go Far". New York Times.
- "Paul's Blog". Vogue.
- http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/style/articles/2011-05/27/gq-style-news-paul-smith-manchester-united-champions-league-final-suits. Missing or empty
- Paul Smith X LASONiC I931, Matt Ho, Trend Hunter, 12 November 2011 (retrieved 23 January 2012)
- "Men's Fashion Blog: Paul Smith Wallets".
Media related to Paul Smith at Wikimedia Commons