Paul Smith

Paul Smith, English tailor and designer, inaugurated an unconventional style, constantly reworking. Read the story of the designer known for colored stripes and men’s formal suits.

Index

  1. Style
  2. You Can Find Inspiration in Everything (and if you cannot, look again!)
  3. Paul Smith in Milan
  4. Boutiques and Iconic Stripes
  5. The Recent Year’s
  6. Current Situation

Style

Paul Smith (1946) is an English tailor and designer. The first thing he sold was a pocket handkerchief with the British flag. Today, in the stores, everything is from robots to ties. He is always unconventional. It has transformed the tailoring into an explosion of colors, inventions, fashion trends combined with the oldest quality of fabrics. He still has the spirit of a twenty-something, cutting-edge designer, which is why he continues to ride the crest of the wave.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Paul Smith Portrait of the Designer
Portrait of the Designer

His clothes are like his personality: amusing and serious at the same time, eccentric but wearable. He opened a multi-brand shop in Nottingham in 1970, and nine years later opened his first proper shop, revolutionizing the concept of selling space, which from then on was no longer just the space used for the display of goods, but a meeting point for anyone interested in style.

His first menswear fashion show was in 1976 in Paris. From that point on the label has grown from strength to strength. The brand’s reputation has never ceased to grow. He has also been asked to be a consultant to the Prime Minister Tony Blair.

You Can Find Inspiration in Everything (and if you cannot, look again!)

In February 2001, Paul Smith joined The Queen on the Birthday Honors List, an acknowledgment of his contribution to British fashion. Later, in November he published You can get inspiration from anything (and if you cannot, look again!). It is not a fashion monograph, nor a clothing catalog, but a collection of images where the author is portrayed in the most diverse situations. The volume, 288 pages, was edited by Alan Aboud who has co-authored the author as an art director for more than ten years. The project was also signed by Jonathan Ive (iMac designer). At the same time, he opened a shop in London at the Royal Exchange.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Paul Smith Book "You Can Find Inspiration in Everything"
Paul Smith’s Book: “You Can Find Inspiration in Everything”

Paul Smith in Milan

In March 2002, Paul Smith opened his first single store in Italy, via Manzoni in Milan. The project is by Sophie Hicks. Then, the first men’s shoe store was opened in Paris. The following month, in collaboration with Cappellini, the Mondo furniture collection will be launched during the Milan Furniture Show.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Paul Smith the Designer at the Salone Del Mobile in Collaboration with Gufram 2016
The Designer at the Salone Del Mobile in Collaboration with Gufram 2016

During the same period, the designer organized Great Brits, an exhibition that pays homage to the greatest British designers. The exhibition was held in his own studio in Milan at Viale Umbria 95. The designer chose four young names: D. Mathias Bengtsson, Tord Boontje, Daniel Brown, and Sam Buxton.

In 2003, after the enormous success achieved with the first collaboration, Reebok commissioned the designer to create a new collection of 80’s men-women shoes, named after Paul Smith, Reebok 2. The materials are mainly orange and blue nylon and real red and blue leather. Exclusively worldwide, only in the stores of Paul Smith (around 250 worldwide) you can buy the first book written by David Bowie at the “modest” sum of £ 295, Moonage Daydream: the truth behind Ziggy. Each of the 2500 numbered copies is autographed.

Boutiques and Iconic Stripes

In February 2005 he opened his first shop for the Pink line in the Daikanyama district of Tokyo. The flagship store measures 120 square meters and is entirely for womenswear and accessories. It is called Paul Smith Pink+. Then, in March he released the Black collection, following an earlier Blue version, the second official women’s line to be found in department stores such as Harvey Nichols, Harrods, and Selfridges.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Paul Smith Striped Wallpaper Signed by Paul Smith for Maharam
Striped Wallpaper Signed by Paul Smith for Maharam

Paul Smith boutiques are known for a distinguished playful design. Every boutique is designed and decorated differently, but all are full of color and character, mirroring his personality. This concept reflects his unconventional design.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Paul Smith LA Boutique
Paul Smith LA Boutique

In 2006, with the intention of using it only for a season, the stylist launches the iconic signature of Paul Smith Stripes. There are not many styles that can be worn either by a two year old girl, or a 35-year-old man. The stripes are perhaps the only candidate. The rows have the power to make a highly distinguishable surface, which, speaking of clothes, explains why they have never been kept in great care.

The Recent Year’s

In 2009 Paul Smith made a collection of bike clothes in association with Rapha. In this period, he opened stores in Dubai, Bangalore, Leeds, Antwerp, Los Angeles, and London.

In mid-November 2013 the company celebrated their 40th anniversary in the fashion world at the London Design Museum with the exhibition Hello, My Name is Paul Smith. The goal is to explore all aspects of the designer’s career, including future development. Accurate reproduction of Paul Smith’s studio, as well as an immersive installation, reveal some of his inspirations. The exhibition is a real journey through its collections, a day in the life of a parade and collaborations with other brands.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Paul Smith Exhibition "Hello My Name is Paul Smith"
Exhibition “Hello My Name is Paul Smith”

Current Situation

In 2017, in Florence, Paul Smith lit a fluorescent light in his youth line, PS by Paul Smith, and re-launched with a focus on basic clothes. The designer argues that the cornerstone of his business is the basis:

“Well done, of good quality, simple cut, made with special fabrics and easy to wear.”

Paul Smith has not presented his collection to Pitti Man for 23 years, but has considered Pitti Uomo 91 the right occasion to present his new collection. The latter translates his attitudes towards classic and bizarre in terms related to the new generations.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Paul Smith Presented at 91 Pitti Uomo
Paul Smith Presented at 91 Pitti Uomo

Church’s

English brand of shoes that is a recognized leader in the men’s handmade luxury footwear industry. Known for high-quality shoes with modern style and elegance. Representing the English artisan-made shoe all over the world.

The Origins

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Church's Artisan
Church’s Artisan

The brand dates back to 1675, when the company founder’s great-grandfather, Stone Church, was born in Northampton. A town known for a successful leather and footwear industry since Cromwellian times. The shoemaking skills were passed down generation to generation to Stone’s great grandson, Thomas Church. In 1873 the brand Church’s was created by the brothers Thomas, Alfred, and William Church.

Church’s began exporting outside of Europe to the United States, Canada and South America, and received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Exports from Queen Elizabeth II in 1965.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Church's Heritage Shoe Craftsmanship
Church’s Heritage Shoe Craftsmanship

There are 250 production steps for each pair and the process takes 8 weeks. The firm’s headquarters is in Northampton, the town which provided the boots for Cromwell’s army in the Irish War. It also provided 70% of the shoes worn by the British soldiers fighting in the trenches along the Marne in the massacre of World War I.

The Goodyear Model

The shoe factory, besides producing the classic leather shoe, first invented the technique to combine the preciousness of the most valuable and futuristic rubber comfort used for soles. That is how the Goodyear model was born, a lace-up leather shoe with para rubber. The first exports were made in 1887. The début in America came in 1907.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Church's Goodyear Flexible Rubber Collection 2012
Goodyear Flexible Rubber Collection 2012

In 1998 the turnover was 240 billion liras. At this point, the griffe is still guided by the family’s descendants, even if they no longer control the majority of shares. In Summer 1999 Diego Della Valle, “Mr. Tod’s,” bought up 8.6% of the shares. Patrizio Bertelli of Prada bought 9% and, at the end of August, launched a friendly takeover bid to acquire control, offering a 20% premium over the share price, of the Stock Exchange’s price, worth about 310 billion liras.

Prada Acquires Church’s

Later in 1999, Church’s is taken over by Prada Holding, a Dutch company at the head of Gruppo Internazionale, which is among the world leaders in luxury design. The acquisition occurs with the explicit intent of “optimizing” the business opportunities of the brand, with full respect for its English identity. The main strategic plan foresees the rationalization of production criteria and the introduction of marketing logic in the planning of collections and new products. This is to allow a further expansion of production capacity and the development of a collection that includes classic categories as well as more contemporary offerings connected to the seasons.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Church's Shanghai Ebony White Classic Shoe
Church’s Shanghai Ebony White Classic Shoe

A New Chapter

In January 2002, a second single-brand boutique in Milan, after the one on via Sant’Andrea, is opened in September 2000. The 600 square foot shop in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is on two floors (shop and warehouse), with walls in teak and wengé floors. It was designed by Roberto Baciocchi.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Church's Store Milan at La Rinascente
Church’s Store Milan at La Rinascente

During this year, the Church’s Group turnover amounts to €61.2 million, with a return to operating profitability and expected further growth in 2003. At this point, there are 48 single-brand points-of-sale, of which 47 are privately owned and 1 is a franchise. The brand is available in 895 multi-brand shops. The group employees a total of 700 people all over the world, with a production centered 95% in England and 5% in Italy for the women’s Collection. The expansion policies of the brand have involved the retail channel and the opening of new single-brand shops in the most important international capitals. The new boutiques are in Milan, in 2001; Paris, on Rue Saint-Honoré; Rome, on via Condotti; St. Moritz, on Palace Arcade, in 2002; and New York, on Madison Avenue, in 2003.

International Expansion

A year later in 2003, an agreement is signed between Prada Group and Equinox. An important private equity investment company to support an ambitious worldwide expansion plan. This plan is based on the development of new and complementary categories of merchandise. An important part of the agreement is the complete autonomy of the Prada Group in design decisions and in the strategy concerning the identity of the brand. According to the agreement, Equinox acquired 45% of the capital of the Church’s Group. Then, later in December 2006, Prada acquired 100% capital of Church’s.

In 2008 the brand started a new development plan to begin opening more international stores. Including Venice, Bologna, Leeds, Edinburgh, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Current Situation

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Church's New Bond Street Boutique
Church’s New Bond Street Boutique

In 26 July 2011 church’s opened the first store dedicated to the women’s collection in the heart of London’s shopping district, New Bond Street.

Currently, there are 200 single-brand boutiques all over the world. The number of employees is about 2,000.