To coincide with the recent publication of his new book A To Z, UK fashion icon Sir Paul Smith has also opened his first standalone shop in Melbourne – the only one of its kind in Australia.
The Adelaide Review talks to the world-renowned designer about what makes his brand unique and why the Paul Smith shopping experience is like no other.
“My work relies on craftsmanship and tradition to a point but always with the unexpected; a sense of surprise,” he states. “I believe in having unique spaces to house things and taking in the history or surroundings of a building. My approach is exactly the opposite to the majority of the large designer brands. I think the idea of visiting different cities and finding every shop looking the same is very disappointing so I have always tried to make each one of my shops individual and do this by not only selling clothes but often selling things I have found on my trips around the world; ceramics, antiques, kitsch objects, anything. Also in some of my shops, where I have space, I sell photography and art; I think this helps to makes the visit even more exciting to my customers. My aim is to give customers something they don’t get anywhere else, something that’s interesting and special.”
Not only does the new Paul Smith store in Melbourne feature shop art – “it’s a reflection of my own personality,” Sir Paul confesses – but photographs are just as prominent in his quite candid book A To Z, illustrated using his incredible personal photographic collection.
“I’m a huge lover of art and photography so I’ve got quite a big collection,” he says. “You can always see a lot of it on the walls of our shops. That is a reflection of my own personality, often the art you see on the wall will be of very different subjects and by lots of different photographers or artists. It really sums up the way I am which is interested in lots of different things, not just one type of thing. I’m involved in every part of the design process. From the inspiration and initial ideas to the choice of fabrics, colour and detailing. It’s important to me that I continue to have such a strong involvement in all aspects of the business.”
120 Collins St, Melbourne
A to Z is published by Abrams. Available now.