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Nov 20 2013

Exhibition: Hello, My Name Is Paul Smith

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I love a good fashion exhibition, a chance to get a behind-the-scenes look into a fashion house, a designer or even a fashion icon, what the Design Museum have done to honour Paul Smith is much more than a celebration of his fashion but of him, his inspiration, how he ticks, it is more about his personality.

Hello, My Name Is Paul Smith, is a totally apt title for this exhibition, of course his fashion is explored, well actually it only has one room dedicated to the designer’s clothes, it is more about where he works, where he gets his inspiration, the items, pictures and trinkets he has picked up along the way, as well as a historical look back at his career to date. It really is fascinating.

The exhibition is sectioned off into themes, there is a mock-up of the first shop he owned in Nottingham, a 3m x 3m box, a recreation of his “cluttered” office, a gallery lined with framed pictures of images found, sent or captured by the designer, a replica of his design studio, as well a look at how the brand’s first showroom space in Paris inside a hotel suite, and a digital room featuring a short psychedelic film ‘Inside Paul’s Head’ along with screens showcasing abstract images, which is narrated by Smith explaining his creative process.

There are also rooms dedicated to the designer’s numerous collaborations from cars to teapots, his individual approach to the design of his shops, which includes a wall decorated with buttons, as well as a look behind-the-scenes of his menswear show in June, and there is even a fun ‘selfie’ area where you can snap yourself with life-size cardboard cut-outs of Smith.

There are many favourite bits in this exhibition – I love how his office is the focal point of the exhibit, it was fascinating to see the things that he keeps close by and that inspire him – from rabbit figurines, a pink Dyson, vintage cameras, a bike, and stacks of books. It makes me feel that my organised chaos surrounded by Barbie dolls is completely normal!!!

It was also nice to look back at the history of the brand through the invites and launch gifts – I wonder how many people will be checking eBay to get their hands on Paul Smith fashion transfers!!! The other highlight had to be the gallery filled with pictures he has collected over the years – some of which were pictures and letters that people had sent him and it was nice to see that he collects them.

What I loved most about this exhibition is its appeal to non-fashion people, fashion actually takes a back seat and it’s the creativity that shines through and it really is a fascinating look in to the mind of a fashion designer.

‘Hello My Name is Paul Smith’ at the Design Museum runs from November 15 – March 9, 2014.

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