2013年12月11日 星期三

Hello, My Name is Paul Smith/保羅·史密斯異想天開的世界 Paul Smith’s World of Wit and Whimsy


Paul Smith’s World of Wit and Whimsy

December 07, 2013
The phrase “Every day is a new beginning,” scribbled on a giant Post-it note and with a smiley sun below, marks the spirit of Paul Smith.
The designer’s words appear on the side of a “compact” (read super-small) room that was the start of a global empire. As a quirky young British boy, he fell off his bicycle 50 years ago, gave up his dream of making cycling his career and started a tiny shop in his native Nottingham, England.
The designer’s wacky, whimsical spirit is perfectly captured in “Hello, My Name is Paul Smith,” an exhibition that runs through March 9 at the Design Museum by the River Thames in London. That casual, friendly welcome from a creative force in fashion sums up the essence of the show, which suggests that good design should be available to all and is not an exclusive luxury.
One of the life-size cardboard cut-out images of Paul Smith — a smartly suited figure with a mane of hair and an apparent energy that belies his 67 years — leans forward at the end of a long “runway,” where the walls are covered with colorful images that have inspired him or marked his career.
It is to the credit of the curator, Donna Loveday, that she has not attempted to streamline the exhibition, any more than the Paul Smith team would dream of reorganizing the manic clutter of objects on his office desk. That re-created surface filled with objects includes the first lumbering iMac computer in translucent green, given to him by his friend Jonathan Ive, now senior vice president of design at Apple. Jumbled around it are the Union Jack; a yellow teapot; banks of books; and a plate of fake spaghetti, balanced on a dress stand above a big black shirt with a digital print that replicates the pasta dish.
A Mini painted in signature a Paul Smith colors at the exhibit at the Design Museum in London.
A Mini painted in signature a Paul Smith colors at the exhibit at the Design Museum in London.
Andrew Testa for The New York Times
As Mr. Smith explains in a film shot during his most recent men’s wear show in Paris and projected at the museum, digital printing is a new way to express his exuberant enthusiasm for pattern and color.
The Paul Smith brand, in which the designer still holds a majority share of 60 percent, is represented in 72 countries and with 14 different collections.
“I wanted to tell the story by taking it back to the shop in Nottingham, trying to give real insight into how Paul works, to take people behind the scenes and to show Paul’s creative approach, where he gets his ideas and inspiration,” said Ms. Loveday, who emphasized Mr. Smith’s ability to maintain his character, personality and humor, which is so often lost when designers sell their businesses or expand into a corporate world.
The curator also highlights the many Paul Smith collaborations, which include a Mini car in the same stripes of vivid color found on the designer’s socks and ties. A dash of color on the lining inside a more-or-less sober suit was a way that the designer built British whimsy into his country’s formal tailoring.
The lively spirit is found in the lineup of clothes — colorful, patterned and for both sexes. That section rather underplays Mr. Smith’s role as a tailor, which is a mistake, because it is the foundation of his work. Ms. Loveday, whose title at the museum is Head of Curatorial, might also have insisted on focusing more firmly on the masculine side. The designer was, after all, the first to interpret the 1960’s “youthquake,” using the British history and tradition of formal wear in a fresh way. Women’s wear came much later and has not had the same resonance.
The show itself certainly appeals to today’s young generation, with a colorful crowd appreciating everything, including the wall of 70,000 buttons (another Smith signature). Alongside is a screen showing the inside of the new Paul Smith store on Albemarle Street in London, where a wall of dominoes captures once again the designer’s wit and whimsy. Mr. Smith says that he abhors “cookie-cutter” shops and has strived to make each one of his different.
“Ideas come from anywhere, you can take inspiration from anything,” Mr. Smith states on one of the wall plates. On another he pays homage to his wife, Pauline, a designer trained at London’s Royal College of Art, who, her husband says, “taught me the importance of quality, cut, proportion and an understanding of how clothes are made.”
Ms. Loveday says that the exhibition is deliberately targeted at young people, who can be convinced that “if you have a vision and a dream, if you have the will and determination to succeed — you can do it too.”
The curator also wanted to underscore how unique Mr. Smith is “as a fashion designer, involved in every aspect of the company,” with his “characteristic humor and wit” at home or overseas.
That determination is underscored by the Smith-designed bicycles that pepper the exhibition, as if announcing, “I lost my dream in a bike accident, but I built another one.”
The Design Museum, founded by the modern design guru Terence Conran, has a landmark 25th birthday next year, which will be followed by a physical move to new premises in West London. This fine Paul Smith exhibition gets to the fundamentals of design and how it can and should be not exclusive, but available to all.
Andrew Testa for The New York Times
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倫敦——巨大的便簽紙上潦草地寫着「每一天都是新的開始」,下面畫著一個微笑的太陽,這標誌着保羅·史密斯(Paul Smith)的精神。
這位設計師古怪、異想天開的精神在「你好,我是保羅·史密斯」 (Hello, My Name is Paul Smith)展覽中得到了完美體現。該展覽在倫敦泰晤士河畔的設計博物館(Design Museum)舉行,將持續到明年3月9日。這位時裝界創意大師隨意、友好的歡迎概括了展覽的精髓,表明優秀的設計應該供所有人享用,而不是僅供某些人享 用的奢侈品。
值得讚許的是,本次展覽的策展人唐娜·洛夫迪(Donna Loveday)沒有試圖精簡這個展覽,就像保羅·史密斯的團隊一直夢想卻從未能夠精簡他辦公桌上的那一大堆東西。展覽中仿製的桌面上放滿了各種東西,包 括第一台笨重的綠色透明的iMac電腦,這是他的朋友喬納森·伊夫(Jonathan Ive)送給他的,伊夫現在是蘋果公司的設計部高級副總裁。電腦四周胡亂放着很多東西:英國國旗;一個黃色的茶壺;賬簿;一盤假意大利麵,它被小心翼翼地 放在一個人體模型上面,人體模型穿着一件寬大的黑色襯衫,襯衫上的數碼印花就是模仿這盤意大利麵設計的。
Andrew Testa for The New York Times
這種充滿活力的精神能在那些展出的衣服上看出來——五顏六色,圖案 多樣,既有男裝,也有女裝。這部分對史密斯的裁縫角色有點輕描淡寫,這麼做是不對的,因為剪裁是他作品的基礎。洛夫迪在該博物館的頭銜是策展部主任。她可 能還堅持重點關注男裝。畢竟這位設計師是第一個闡釋20世紀60年代「青年動亂」的人,他用新穎的方法闡釋英國正式着裝的歷史和傳統。他是在很久之後才開 始設計女裝的,而且沒有引起同樣的反響。
這場展覽本身無疑對如今的年輕一代具有吸引力,行行色色的觀眾來欣 賞這裡的一切,包括那面掛有70000個鈕扣的牆(那些鈕扣是史密斯的另一個代表作)。旁邊的屏幕上展示的是倫敦阿爾伯馬爾街新開的一家保羅·史密斯店的 內部,店裡牆上的多米諾骨牌再次反映出這位設計師的智慧和奇思妙想。史密斯說他厭惡「千篇一律」的店鋪,所以總是努力讓他的每家店都不相同。
由現代設計宗師特倫斯·康倫(Terence Conran)創立的設計博物館明年將迎來25歲生日,之後它將搬到倫敦西部的新館。這場精緻的保羅·史密斯展覽道出了設計的基本要義,表明設計不應該僅供某些人獨享,而應該讓所有人看到,以及如何做到這一點。

Paul Smith
Fashion designer

  • Sir Paul Smith, CBE, RDI, is an English fashion designer, whose business and reputation is founded upon his menswear. He is both commercially successful and highly respected within the fashion industry. Wikipedia

  • Born: July 5, 1946 (age 67), Beeston, United Kingdom

    "Hello, my name is Paul Smith" at the Design Museum - Paul Smith ...

    Nov 14, 2013 - From the 15th November 2013 to 9th March 2014, London's Design Museum invites you into the world of fashion designer Paul Smith, a world ...

    Paul Smith倫敦展 複製私人辦公室

    【林 佳樺╱綜合報導】英國服裝設計師Paul Smith在時裝圈屹立40多年,最近倫敦Design Museum向他致敬,本月至明年3月舉行「Hello, My Name is Paul Smith」展覽,回顧Paul Smith在諾丁漢(Nottingham)創辦品牌至今日叱吒國際的歷程,最特別的是將品牌首家專門店與他的私人辦公室複製到展覽館內;加上展品由 Paul Smith親自挑選,還有他親自錄製導覽語音,品牌粉絲不容錯過。

    英國服裝設計師Paul Smith叱吒時尚圈40多年。香港《蘋果日報》
    倫敦展覽一窺Paul Smith的私人辦公室。香港《蘋果日報》

    Design for life: Paul Smith talks classics with a twist, Japanese fans, Britishness - and why he prides himself on still being childlike

    Passion is what life is all about for Paul Smith – for fashion, sure, but also for bikes and business, photography and play. Alexander Fury meets him on the eve of his second exhibition at the Design Museum in London

    The odd thing about speaking with the fashion designer Paul Smith is how little you speak about the fashion designer Paul Smith. He speaks about his passion for cycling – a passion he hoped would become a career until it ended with a crash, literally, in his teens.

    We speak about his company, of course – his influences, his inspirations, even a little about how his company's run (with Paul very much at the helm, and heavily involved in every aspect). And we speak about the latest exhibition of his work at London's Design Museum – Hello, My Name is Paul Smith. He's the first fashion designer to have two exhibitions there – the last was in 1995, although Smith is anxious to point out neither should be seen as a retrospective. His initial comment about this one? "Clothes feature... a bit more."
    In the fashion world, Smith's plain-talking stands out. It's not just the flattened vowels of his native Nottingham – if he decided to go off on a pretentious flight of fancy, they would make it sound down-to-earth. But pretension has never been Smith's thing. He founded his eponymous company in 1970, building it around resolutely realistic clothing. "Classic with a twist," is the way he invariably describes it, and has done so for 30 years.
    "That's a big contributing factor of why I've done well. My experience of working in a shop [he manned a friend's clothing shop, aged 18, before setting up in business by himself], and understanding that most people don't want a jacket with three arms or a spaceship coat! They're very happy to have... it's an overused expression but my expression of classic with a twist is hard to beat," Smith states emphatically, in one of the few instances I get him to talk seams and selvedges.
    The twist could be a colourful lining, an unusual pattern – such as the photo-realistic prints born from Smith's personal passion for photography (he photographed his latest autumn/winter advertising campaign) – or something as simple as replacing the colour in an ultra-traditional tweed. Smith offered a Prince of Wales check with > limoncello-yellow instead of the conventional burgundy or blue. "Basically, all very wearable," he says. Smith's approach across the decades has always been a gentle dig in the ribs at the everyman to brighten up his act.
    Smith in his first shop, which opened in Nottingham in 1970 Smith in his first shop, which opened in Nottingham in 1970
    Smith's classic with a twist has now become a classic in itself – so much so, that perhaps it's difficult to appreciate how arresting his quirkiness was when he first began. Arguably, that came from the fact that Smith wasn't formally design-trained; following a crash and a period in hospital that ended his burgeoning cycling career, aged 17, he fell in with a group of art students, naturally interested in a world that was alien to him. "My bad point or my weak spot is that I have too many ideas, I'm too curious. I'm not posh enough," he says.

    All of which were what ignited that initial interest in fashion, fostered by art-school chat in a pub in the late Sixties. Of course, Smith tells it like a comedy skit, cracking that he thought the Bauhaus was a housing estate. He credits his then-girlfriend and now wife Pauline, a Royal College of Art alumna, with teaching him the ins and outs of the fashion business. Touchingly, there is also an area of the Design Museum show dedicated to her. "It's very much down to her," he states. "And, as they say, the rest is history."

    Smith tries to retain the same approach. "I'm still curious today. I always pride myself on being childlike – not childish, but childlike." He grins, another joke.

    "What I mean by that is being curious, asking questions, having a very open mind, a very free mind. I think it was Picasso who said he spent his life trying to paint like a child, because they're so free."

    Freedom, for Smith, is a prized commodity. His company is still independent – despite an impressive turnover of over £200m, which must have luxury-good conglomerates snapping at his heels. Sir Paul (he was knighted in 2000) still owns 60 per cent, and he's involved in almost every aspect. "Nearly everything we do is in this building in Covent Garden, where I'm sitting. We have the shop design team, so tomorrow I'm seeing them for two hours about new projects in the pipeline. Today, I've been with two or three of the different designers. I'm more of a stylist these days, because there are literally too many jobs to do," he says. "I hope I'm not autocratic but I hope I keep my eye on things and direct it in the right way. I'm the only person who sees all the collections."
    The Design Museum has recreated Paul Smith's office for its exhibition The Design Museum has recreated Paul Smith's office for its exhibition
    Smith draws the crowds – he proudly relays that the opening Saturday of the latest Design Museum show is "The most visitors they've ever had. Ever. It beat any previous records." He's beaming. In Japan, he's mobbed on the streets by autograph-hunters (see the picture on page 45). He has over 200 shops in the country (to put that in perspective: he has 17 in the UK). It's natural, therefore, to wonder if Smith is the quintessentially English designer, offering fundamentally English clothes to a foreign market eager to snap up a slice of our tradition. It's something that's been hypothesised a few times, and I'm eager to know what he thinks.

    "I'm confused about Britishness these days," begins Smith. "I'm not sure if it exists any more. When I first started, my very first collection was quite traditional. It had little tweed jackets, but the tweed was in colours that were unexpected. It had little checked shirts in slightly brushed cotton, which could have been seen as a country shirt, and corduroy trousers... but now, you don't really see any British looks." He ponders further, brow furrowed. "I'm not sure whether you'd call Savile Row very British these days... The world's such a small place and we get so much information now. We sell out clothes in 72 countries, so therefore you need Paul Smith fashion rather than a particular Britishness."

    But, I argue, isn't that Paul Smith approach to fashion – that oddness, that 'classic with a twist' – in itself British? Plus the fact that, as Brits ourselves, maybe our perception is warped. "That's absolutely true," says Smith, unexpectedly enthusiastic when I'm countering his assertion. But Smith is open to ideas. "I'm very British. I'm quite down-to-earth, very polite, have a sense of humour. My personal character is very British, probably more than the clothes."
    Then again, Paul Smith the man is intrinsically tied up with Paul Smith the label. It doesn't mean it won't carry on without him – Smith is adamant that he wants it to. But it's difficult to extricate the one from the other. Take that Design Museum exhibition. Smith calls it, "A very honest exhibition. It's very passionate, it's very down-to-earth, it's very hands-on". You can't help but wonder if, really, he's just talking about himself, and indeed his clothes. He's a clever man – so halfway through, it seems that the same idea clicks in his head. "Hopefully, it's just a reflection of my own personality. Just a normal bloke really. Just getting on with it."
    Hello, My Name is Paul Smith is at the Design Museum, London SE1 to 9 March, 2014