Talking Shop With Menswear Master Paul Smith

by MR Magazine Staff

For this season, Paul Smith decided to show his new menswear collection in an homage to his first-ever shop. Opened in 1970, above another store in the designer’s native Nottingham, it comprised a windowless room that measured just three metres by three metres. “The same size as that Matisse painting,” he says, pointing to a print of a masterpiece that hangs in Tate Modern. “Three metres square. The Snail, by Matisse. That was it.” The shop was open only two days a week – “Just on Fridays and Saturdays.” Smith’s sales assistant was a 15-year-old Afghan hound named Homer, who he claims was actually in charge. Smith’s girlfriend (now wife), Pauline, named this man’s best friend from the ancient Greek poem The Iliad, he explains. Today, Smith stands in a replica of that small, confined cube, full of the clutter that normally fills every surface of his office in London’s Covent Garden – an eclectic mix of photographs, Japanese toys and robots, a portable vinyl record player (Bowie is on – Smith designed the T-shirt to accompany the launch of the artist’s last album, Blackstar), an Asian rug, a life-size red plastic cactus and row upon row of books. There are also a few pieces from his latest collection, including some chic, cycling-inspired sportswear. Read more at The Week.