“You can find inspiration everywhere, and if you can’t, look again.” I’m paraphrasing here, very loosely but there are far worse words to lead with than that of Paul Smith. “Hello, I’m Paul Smith”opened at Glasgow’s Lighthouse on the 21st of January and inspiration is the very beating heart of the exhibition. Digging deep in to the archives of the label the exhibition is as close as you can get to stepping in to one of Britain’s most iconic designers minds (how very John Malcovich) hitting all the creative notes on the head. Included within the exhibition you are a recreation of the first shop (a claustrophobic 3m x 3m windowless room) a tower filled with mysterious trinkets posted to Smith over the years from an anonymous fan, and yes – the original Paul Smith multi-stripe mini makes an appearance too. Really though this only scratches the surface of Smith’s self-proclaimed “goosebump” exhibition.
It’s a creator’s exhibition as much as one for fashion lovers. Fashionistas will love the archive collection on display, the day in a life of a fashion show film as well as past invitations and backstage passes. For designers though there’s a little bit more history there. An immersive audio visual experience about finding things you love, the recreation of a small hotel room where Smith first showcased – it’s been designed to invigorate, inspire and educate. The idea that you can find inspiration everywhere is key throughout. The walls are packed with what is but a small fraction of Smith’s art collection, the designs to each individual Paul Smith store are on display and recreation of his office is a smorgasbord of visual delights. Minimalist it ain’t but that’s what makes it so delectable. It’s a feast for not just the eyes but the soul.
You could easily spend an afternoon here as there is always something new to see. Just when you thought you’ve taken it all in there’s a print from a rock show from the early 00’s, or a string of plastic ice cream cones draped over the desk. Presented is but a small snap shot of what’s make the Paul Smith brand. We see the humble beginnings of a tiny hotel in Paris to a design room complete with leather samples and patterns hanging from the ceiling. It’s hunger and ideas and more often than nought, it’s about fashion as art. You can find inspiration everywhere, but if you’re looking, “Hello, I’m Paul Smith” isn’t a bad place to start.
“Hello I’m Paul Smith” is open now till 20th March at The Lighthouse Glasgow.