Sir Paul Smith is not like other fashion designers. Despite being one of the foremost creative figures of his generation, he retains a marvellous personal touch, answering all the letters he receives personally and happy to open up his process and personality with a tongue-in-cheek humour that jars with traditional ideas of haute couture.
A new video series called Inside Paul’s Studio has just launched and features the man himself giving a guided tour of some of the prized possessions stuffed into his Aladdin’s cave of an office. In the first episode he shows off an insanely-detailed miniature model of his workspace recreated down to the smallest piece.
In fact Paul’s YouTube channel has had a comprehensive overhaul over recent weeks with lots of new stuff added to create a fascinating resource. There’s his catwalk shows, behind-the-scenes videos of him larking around on photo shoots and even an hour-long discussion he hosted with Mark Cavendish at the Design Museum.
Bikes being one of his many passions it is perhaps not surprising that it was a cycling-inspired piece he and artist Charming Baker produced for the V&A’s Britain Creates show. Called Triumph in the face of Absurdity’ it depicts a tiny mouse holding up a bike, their take on the David and Goliah story. “In today’s strange world with financial compromise and uprising wars our idea was that however small you are you can find an inner strength to grow and overcome problems and difficulties,” Paul wrote on his blog.
If the importance of perspiration is one of of his themes, it is inspiration he will be talking about at Here our creative symposium in September.
“Inspiration can come from anywhere but you have to give yourself time to dream,” he says. "Lying on your couch, walking down the beach, let your mind flow into things seen and experienced. I love to find ideas in my mind that seem to come from nowhere and then add them to something brand new, I love the mix of old and new, rough and smooth, kitsch and beautiful.”
We are looking forward to a unique insight into the mind that launched a thousand suits, as Paul explores his creative process, his early years and the sources he draws on in his ceaseless quest for creative innovation.
Here takes place at London’s Royal Geographical Society on September 21. For more information and tickets click here