Saturday, 22 March 2014

'My Name is Paul Smith'

// 'My Name is Paul Smith Exhibition' // London Design Museum //

So as i'm sure you are probably all aware, from my constant tweets and posts, i recently went on a trip with university to London, and then on to Paris, earlier this month. It was an incredible, yet extremely short, trip that i will be posting about a lot over the coming weeks! So many photos to share, so little time! 

Our first mission of the trip, when we set foot onto the concrete streets of the capital, was to visit Paul Smith exhibition at the Design Museum. Admittedly, 'My Name is Paul Smith' was not an exhibition initially on my agenda. Although aware of the iconic British designer, i had never really felt a connection with his work and poo-pooed him as being a typical traditional menswear designer that i would have little interest in. 

Oh boy, was I wrong! 

It was a phenomenal exhibition, and portrayed him as a truly inspirational and likeable character. It showed the journey of his life, from his humble beginnings, his first shop and his first fashion show. In the beginning he hosted his shows in friend's flats, and his first showroom was in a Parisian Hotel, with the garments neatly laid out on the bed. For the whole week, nobody came. And at the last moment, his first and most important customer arrived. It was so heartwarming to see his relentless hard work and effort pay off as i travelled throughout the exhibition. 

His many, many, many, MANY collaborations are dotted throughout the exhibition, demonstrating what an affluent man Paul Smith has become in the British industry. Mock ups of his office space and workroom were just a feast for my eyes. Every inch of space was covered, i honestly felt like i could have spent hours just discovering all the new parts of these scenes. Colours, prints and obscure items covered every space bit of space and was any creative-thinkers dream! I especially loved he workroom space - block patterns hung from the ceiling, hovering above an array of fabric swatches, colour chips, prints and monitors showing how Paul Smith generates his iconic repeating prints. 

And of course, i can't NOT mention the fashion! This was what surprised me most about the mysterious Mr Smith. As previously described, i was expecting tailored menswear, beautiful, but still not making my crazy mind tingle with excitement. However, walking down the corridor of a selection of his work BLEW MY MIND. A combination of Menswear and Womenswear, the room was laid out like a runway, grouping garments together in themes and styles, rather than in chronological order. I photographed a couple of my favourites, and unfortunately the rest were recorded in sketch form. Bright colours, delicate embroidery and effortless drape filled the space with creativity and wonder. It helped me appreciate menswear in a way i had never thought before. The detailing was stunning, a true testament to Paul Smith's precision and beady eye for detail.

I left the exhibition feeling completely overwhelmed. My initial thoughts were completely converted and i was left feeling in complete awe and more inspired than i've felt in a long while. It gave me hope that hard work really pays off in the end, no matter where you started off.

Bring on the menswear project, because i have some kickass ideas from Mr Smith himself!

Unfortuntely, the exhibition had to end on the 9th of March. If you didn't catch the exhibition, i would recommend getting hold of the accompanying book or looking into Paul Smith and his work. It really is inspiring stuff and any future designer would benefit from his wise words and inspiring story.



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