How Paul Smith Changed The Way British Men Dress

by MR Magazine Staff

Smithyland — that is, the global headquarters of the Paul Smith fashion brand — is housed in a handsome, red brick warehouse on the edge of the long-gone fruit and veg market in Covent Garden. From the exterior and the smart but unshowy waiting room there is little indication of the building’s eccentric owner: not his distinctive cursive signature; nor the thin, bright stripe pattern he created that became so popular he had to kill it off. Not even a rabbit, an animal that, in various forms, has been a lucky charm for much of his career and which must be doing a job because the 70-year-old Smith has clung on at the top, or near it, of a notoriously greasy pole for the best part of five decades. The absence of branding on the building could be taken as a reflection of its egoless, don’t-call-me-Sir-Paul proprietor. But, in truth, you wouldn’t have to be much of a detective to work out that this is Smith’s place. Behind the reception desk, there’s a cabinet full of tell-tale curios: an Eddy Merckx poster, mini-robots, David Bowie memorabilia. Climb the four flights of stairs to his office — the lift, as usual, is broken — and you pass hundreds of framed photographs, many of which were taken by him or have a personal resonance. Then, slightly puffing, you are in front of the man himself: you might need a few seconds to catch your breath, but that’s OK, because Smith starts talking and pretty well doesn’t stop. Read more at Esquire.