Words: Sarah Bradbury
Born in July 1946 in Nottingham, Paul Smith is an iconic British fashion designer - recognised and well known for his eye for detail in men’s clothing. But since he first started out in the industry, his empire expanded and he even created a range of fragrances, Paul Smith Perfume. In 1991, he was made Royal Designer for Industry. He was even knighted by the Queen in 2000.
With his company starting in 1970, Paul Smith is now stocked in countries all around the world and available via standalone stores, department stores, airport terminals and online. His stores are easily recognised from their unique design and Paul’s eccentricity and personality shining through.
Paul Smith’s Early Life
Paul Smith left school at 15 to work in a clothing warehouse but always wanted to be a professional cyclist and practiced in his own time - cycling to and from work until the age of 17. He was sadly in an accident that put him in hospital for six months. Whilst he was in hospital, it was his friends and family that inspired him to enter the world of fashion and art. Paul later learnt the art of tailoring and began working with a tailor on Savile Row, called Lincroft Kilgour.
His Fashion Career
His first store was on 6 Byard Lane, in his hometown of Nottingham in 1970 and it was called ‘Vêtement Pour Homme’ - it was only 3 square metres big. He stocked pieces he designed himself along with established clothing labels. The store was managed by his girlfriend (and now wife), Pauline Denyer who trained at the Royal College of Art.
Six years later, he travelled to Paris to showcase his first men’s collection which was a mix of casual and semi-formal pieces. As his brand began to grow, in 1979, Paul opened his flagship store in London on Floral Street, Covent Garden. In 1993, ‘Paul Smith Woman’ launched after women were reported to be buying his menswear collection in smaller sizes.
Paul Smith Perfume
The design and fragrance of his perfumes were as wearable as his clothing - and something of a chic and stylish statement on any dresser. ‘Classic with a twist’ - just the way he wanted it. And his collection of fragrances are still loved by his fans. They are just as happy as wearing his incredible scents like they are his clothes.
Famous Last Words
We’ll leave you with a quote from Sir Paul Smith:
‘Remember that life is not about financial gain – it’s about camaraderie, friendship, love, conversation and helping others.’
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