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    Hello My Name is Paul Smith

Exhibition: Step inside the funnest exhibition of the year, Hello My Name is Paul Smith

Posted by Liv Siddall,

A journalist at the press conference for the hotly-anticipated Hello My Name is Paul Smith at the Design Museum made a very interesting point. Paul Smith makes stripy socks and nice suits, like many other designers, what is it about his stripy socks that people buy into? Simple answer: it’s him. It’s his fun, his energy, his silly faces, his flowery shirts, his bandy legs and his unabashed cheerfulness that makes us want to buy his clothes! This is also precisely why this exhibition of his career to date has to be one of the most enjoyable in the history of shows, it’s 100% infused with happiness and celebration. From the walls covered in framed miscellany taken from Paul’s own staircase (only a tiny fraction of the complete archive), to the recreation of his infamous stuff-filled office, this show had journalists and photographers go all squishy and giddy with joy whilst ambling around.

Hello my Name is Paul Smith couldn’t be a better name for this retrospective. Essentially, it’s like being invited to wander around his brain, following him from his first ever 3m x 3m Nottingham shop, to the meeting of his wife Pauline, to his love for cycling to the countries, flowers and people that inspire him. It’s not so much as a wander, perhaps more of a personal tour as small, torn-off bits of paper with hand-scrawled notes from Paul explain what each exhibit is, and what it means to him.

And the clothes. The clothes! Paul has handpicked a selection of his favourite garments that have been created over the years and they too are almost a window into his very well-decorated head. Fun, enthusiastic, considered and guaranteed to put a smile on your face, we can’t recommend a trip to this exhibition enough (even if it is just to run your palms over the 70,000 buttons stuck to one of the walls).

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    Paul Smith demonstrating how the magic happens. Photo by Liv Siddall

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    A replica of the Paris hotel room where Paul Smith opened his first shop. Photo by Liv Siddall

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    Paul Smith Cut-Outs. Photo by Liv Siddall

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    Paul Smith’s personal picks from his archive. Photo by Liv Siddall

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    Paul Smith’s personal picks from his archive. Photo by Liv Siddall

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    Old Paul Smith campaigns from the archives. Photo by Liv Siddall

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    Hello my Name is Paul Smith. Photo by Antony Crolla

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    Hello my Name is Paul Smith. Photo by Antony Crolla

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    Hello my Name is Paul Smith. Photo by Antony Crolla

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    70,000 buttons on one wall. Photo by Liv Siddall

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Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She also runs our London listings site This At There, and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast.