London Life Exhibitions

Hello, My Name is Paul Smith

November 28, 2013

I couldn’t quite contain my excitement on Tuesday when I knew I would finally visit the exhibition I’ve been waiting for all year. Hello, my name is Paul Smith has not long opened at the Design Museum in London.

Where to begin? Well, let’s begin with my own crush on Paul Smith. There are only a couple of designers that have influenced me on a deep level. Paul Smith being one of them, the other one is Missoni.

What makes a great exhibition? For me it’s the curating, the design of the space, the content and the attention to detail. This here excels in every single area. I decided to capture and give a little taste of this incredible Tour de Force for those of you too far to travel to London. For the rest of you, don’t wait, run to the Design Museum. It will fill you with enthusiasm and inspiration. If you need cheering up, if you want to see how someone started with virtually nothing, if colour is your passion, if collecting stuff is your thing or if, like Paul himself, you are simply curious, your desires will be met in bucket loads.

Meet Sir Paul Smith. This photograph below epitomises everything I love about the man. Young at heart, playful, witty, eccentric, bonkers, curious and oh so talented.

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

Paul has been collecting paintings and prints since he was 15. The sheer creativity in this room was enough to make me go weak at the knees.

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

A few close ups!

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

There’s a whole room on Collaborations undertaken by Paul Smith. Who can ever forget one of the first ones, this famous Mini back in 1998?

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

I remember this interactive Rubbish Bin, commissioned for the Super Contemporary exhibition in 2009. On the right, Le Grand Depart jersey 2007, the first in a series of on-going collaborations between Rapha and Paul Smith.

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

Always innovating, Paul was one of the first fashion designers to join the Designer Collection for The Rug Company. He designed this rug in 2009.

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

A wonderful wall full of Buttons.

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

” I hate shops that all look the same – I love individuality”. The Paul Smith brand designs all their own shops, giving each one its own character and reflecting its setting.

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

I depicted some of the wonderful garments on display.

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

A recreation of the Design Studio.

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

“My father was an amateur photographer… he inspired my passion for photography”. This Rolleiflex camera belonged to Paul’s father.

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

Some promotional material.

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

Paul now takes photographs for advertising campaigns of the business. He has a camera with him at all times and the photographs end up being his visual diary.

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

I just loved these access passes.

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

A recreation of the first showroom. It was a bedroom in a Paris hotel.

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

A recreation of Paul’s office in Covent Garden.

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

As you enter the exhibition you’ll see an exact scale recreation of Paul’s first shop in Nottingham in 1970. Measuring just 3 x 3 square meters, it was a room that he called his shop. “I had an Afghan hound called Homer, he was the shop manager – we looked the same”.

An early notebook.

Hello, my name is Paul Smith - colourliving

This exhibition tells the remarkable story behind the Paul Smith brand and boy is it a fascinating story. It gives us an insight into the man’s world and his creative process. I’m certainly returning for a second helping and sincerely hope some of you get to visit. The exhibition runs until 9th March 2014. Hooray. Due to popularity it’s been extended to 22 June 2014. You can buy the exhibitions accompanying book here

I want to end with Paul’s own words:

“I owe so much to my wife, Pauline. Without her, none of this would have happened. Pauline studied fashion at the Royal College of Art, London and came to Nottingham as a part-time tutor at the School of Art and Design.

She taught me the importance of quality, cut, proportion and an understanding of how clothes are made. I was privileged to go with her to Paris when she took her students to couture shows. She taught me the key elements of the business of fashion and encouraged me to set up on my own”.

This video says it all. Fashion writer Penny Martin (Editor-in-Chief of The Gentlewoman magazine) heads down to the Design Museum in London to take a look at the Paul Smith exhibition.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Igor November 28, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Wow, what a great exhibit and impeccable photography! Thanks for taking us along, Tina!!

    • Reply tina December 1, 2013 at 5:11 pm

      Pleasure Igor. Unfortunately you’ll miss this as you’re coming in April. Glad you could virtually participate.

  • Reply Lena November 28, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    That really looks like a must-see, I love taking a look behind the scenes to get the whole picture. Thanks for the virtual tour. The title of the exhibition is perfect, too!

    • Reply tina December 1, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      Are you planning to come to London? It’s worth coming for…. I’ve been such a huge fan of PS since the 80’s.
      Yes, love the title:-) If you would meet him you would understand. Paul Smith is the most down to earth bloke you could imagine.
      A true humble man!

  • Reply Carole Poirot November 28, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Absolutely amazing. I have to admit that I knew about the clothes and the collaboration on the rugs, but that’s as far as it goes. This is just fantastic and look “behind the scenes” with the recreation of his design studio is such a great idea. Beautiful patterns and colours, what a great exhibition and brilliant photos from you. xo

    • Reply tina December 1, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      You have NO excuse not to go and visit. It is really incredible and will cheer up anyone over the dark winter months:-)) x

  • Reply Nicola November 28, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Thanks for the tour Tina, can’t wait to visit.

    Went to his shop in WC2 as a student & had a nice chat, there were no other shops around there then & the market was hoarded up! Even if you meet him now he’s just the same.

    Now if I ever get a dog, I might get an Afghan Hound and call him Paul Smith xx

    • Reply tina December 1, 2013 at 5:17 pm

      Nicole, I’ll come with you…. can see myself visiting a few times before it ends.

      I know, I first met him as a student. He’s never changed. It’s so hard to be down to earth as a famous person these days, especially in the fickle fashion industry. This makes it even more special for me as I like the values he stands for in life!

      I’ve sent you the photo of Homer, the Afghan Hound. I didn’t include it here in my piece. xx

  • Reply Judith November 28, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    I love how Paul Smith is both highly commercial & and highly personal, both in a good way. Looks like a must-see exhibition, woah! Thanks for the photo tour, Tina!

    • Reply tina December 1, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      What I love about this exhibition in particular is that his character and personality is in every piece and every room. It’s fun, playful, serious, inspirational and an honest and intimate insight into his world. Perfect! Pleasure x

  • Reply noreen November 28, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    don’t you love a man who gives great credit to his wife? thanks for sharing this!

    • Reply tina December 1, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      Hahaha. I do, indeed. And how often does it GENUINELY happen in this fickle world of celebrity? He’s always thanking Pauline and I love that!

  • Reply Michaela November 29, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Great post Tina – love it! I’m definitely going to be going to this exhibition – a Christmas present to myself I think! Paul Smith is a such a design chameleon; is there nothing the man can’t do? The breadth of his vision is quite staggering, but he comes across as being very humble indeed. You photographs are fab too – especially loving that exquisite embroidery 🙂 have a great weekend m’dear! xx

    • Reply tina December 1, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      That would be a great Christmas present to yourself:-) you won’t regret it!

      Haha. A friend of mine who saw the exhibition, said: “The man makes it all look so easy”…
      I hope you’ll be as inspired as me xx

  • Reply Doris November 30, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Great post Tina, Paul Smith is an inspiration to the design community and seems so down to earth and giving. Great photo’s. Have a lovely weekend. xD

    • Reply tina December 1, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Thanks Doris. I hope you get top see the exhibition. x

  • Reply Chi @ 106 December 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    LOVE Paul Smith and his approach to life/work! I watched his 2003 talk at the Tate online and found him to be funny, a little mad (in the nicest possible way!)and humble despite his amazing success.

    I really must get down to this exhibit ASAP!!! How inspired is the cardboard replica of that Paris hotel room and …. well, everything! 😀 His vision and unique perspective always makes me smile.

    In the meantime, I shall have to content myself with the accompanying book. Thanks for yet another stellar review! 😀 x

    • Reply tina December 1, 2013 at 5:38 pm

      Pleasure. You will totally be amazed. My photos cannot transmit the sheer volume and vastness of the exhibition and the beauty of colours, textures and products.
      I spend hours in there and cannot wait to return to take it all in again and again and again. xx

  • Reply Holly December 1, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    oh my gosh! Your pics do a fab job at showing the accomplishment of his life, work and influence. Each one wow. The exhibit must have been soooo inspiring! I can imagine you were in HEAVEN!

    I keep going back to the rug. I just love looking at it!

    Thanks for sharing Tina 🙂 Xx.

    • Reply tina December 1, 2013 at 7:19 pm

      Oh, thanks Holly. •blushing•… I was in Heaven. In fact Mike, who was with me to start with just left me behind coz he saw I was in Heaven:-)) LOL

      Wish you would be able to see it… xx

  • Reply leah of sang the bird December 1, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Paul Smith is such an inspiration! So great to read your words so full of admiration, inspiration and joy. Beautifully photographed xx

    • Reply tina December 2, 2013 at 12:33 am

      Thank you Leah. I’m glad you got to see this here on the blog as travelling from Australia is not expected of you:-))
      A great man indeed xx

  • Reply Catherine December 2, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I’m glad I got to see it too. Amazingly talented man and I also love that he gave genuine credit to his wife Pauline. Travelling from Australia not expected, but wouldn’t it be wonderful!!! This would be one worth sitting on a plane for 21 hours for. X

    • Reply tina December 2, 2013 at 11:18 pm

      Hahaha! Yes 21 hours on a plane… think Paul is worth it:-) x

  • Reply Alison Sye December 3, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    A great tribute to a great man, Tina.
    I have loved Paul Smith since the 80s, and over the years the more I’ve found out about him, the more I’ve loved him.
    Everything he does is so admirable. 🙂

    • Reply tina December 5, 2013 at 2:21 am

      Totally agree on every point x

  • Reply Anya Jensen December 4, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Tina – I absolutely love love love Paul Smith. Always have, but even more since I saw a documentary about him. Funny, kind, quirky, creative and humble. I loved how he is just himself despite his genius/fame. I love how he collects treasures – from everywhere. I HAVE to see this when I’m in London, the Mr. would be up for that too, Thanks for sharing – can’t wait for London now (more than before:)

    • Reply tina December 5, 2013 at 2:22 am

      Oh I’m pleased you’ll go and see this and that the MR. will enjoy it too…. let me know when you go, could always pop by for a hug x

  • Reply mel December 7, 2013 at 1:47 am

    Oh wow what an amazing and totally inspiring exhibition Tina. Thanks so much for covering it for us so far away. I really love how he incorporated his personal art collection and a recreation of his office. What a cool guy. Mel x

    • Reply tina December 12, 2013 at 7:27 pm

      You are so very welcome Mel. I’m glad that you guys down under could have a peek into this most wonderful exhibition.
      Paul Smith is an incredibly inspiring man. x

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey December 13, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I am so delighted to hear you loved this show… a show made for you! And I love the virtual tour 🙂

    Paul really is a magnet for creativity and quite the genius. And I can imagine you falling head over heels for that office in Covent Garden!

    Brilliant darlin’ xx

    • Reply tina January 27, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      Ha. It was sooooo brilliant. Pleasure, I just had to do a virtual Tour for all the people who can’t come to London to see it.
      I just love that man, everything about him is ‘creative’.

      Thanks lovely xx

  • Reply gumi chan at paul smith colourliving February 3, 2014 at 9:57 am

    […] My regular readers will know of my admiration and love for ‘everything’ Sir Paul Smith and if you haven’t yet visited his superb exhibition at the Design Museum, do yourself a huge favour and go. Check out my review of it here. […]

  • Reply Shona Lockhart March 4, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    This exhibition looks fab. I would love to see it but may run out of time this week. Shona

    • Reply tina March 4, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      Yes, what a shame… but at least you got a bit of an insight here… wish you could make it x

    Leave a Reply