5 Questions for Paul Smith

Paul Smith talks to Fashion Beast after cracking London show

Paul Smith presented a collection tonight sure to please his fans, filled with colour, passionate prints and plenty of boy-meets-girl crossover androgyny.

We caught up with him after the show at the Tate Britain art gallery for a quick chat:

I wanted to ask you about one piece in particular, the big polo neck that zipped up the back.

I wanted to have very graphic aspects so the backdrop of the show was blocks of colour. The bag under her arm had lots of colour and there were stripe details on the back of her collar, on the back of the sleeve, down her shoe.

It’s the more casual side of Paul Smith isn’t it?

The thing is we do 26 collections a year.

That’s one very two weeks.

It feels like one every hour! But the point is, there is a lot of stuff going on within Paul Smith. We do trainers, accessories and we sell almost a million pairs of socks a year. When you are doing a fashion show you have got buyers on one side, press on the other side and on the catwalk with 12 minutes and a lot of money you have got to say to the press, “I have got ideas! I have got new ways of putting things together!” but to the buyers you have also got to show them stuff that will pay the rent. That are saleable but also interesting. I have been a shopkeeper since I was 21, I have worked in a shop since I was 15. So it sounds simple, but I know that what shops want are things.

Is your DNA that of a retailer more than a designer?

I think I’m a jack of all trades and a master of not much.

We disagree.

I think I am OK as a designer and OK as businessman. Not brilliant. But what I am good at is getting the old taste buds going.