As with many other fashion designers, I could say that I knew of Paul Smith, but I didn’t know much about him. So an exhibition with the name ‘Hello, my name is Paul Smith‘ sounded like a good introduction into the life and work of this British designer.
As much as I enjoy going to a museum, I’m not the kind of person who can spend hours and hours admiring different artworks. After about an hour and a half I start looking for the signs to the nearest restaurant instead of reading about what inspired the artist. The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum for contemporary design, but you won’t need an entire day to visit it. Just the way I like it.
You enter the exhibition on the first floor walking through a tiny room that has the size of Paul Smith’s first shop. What follows next is an incredible and inspiring collection of prints and photographs that normally cover the walls of his office in Covent Garden. For an exhibition about a fashion designer it’s remarkable how little number of fashion designs are actually on display. It shows how much more he does than ‘just’ designing clothes. You see many of his well-known collaborations with other brands, but also a replica of his design studio and his office crammed with objects.
One of the things I enjoyed most was listening to him talking about his creative process. How traveling inspires him and that he uses his camera as a visual diary. That you need to look and see (‘A lot of people look, but don’t see‘). And how important it is to always be curious and not to spend too much time looking at what others do.
If you’re in London before 9 March 2014 go and visit the Design Museum. I guarantee you’ll leave this colorful exhibition more inspired. (Even if you can hardly sew on a button like me…). And for those of you who won’t be able to go, here’s a short video that gives a tour of the exhibition.