interview: Paul Smith’s textile launch with Maharam
Assembled Check, designed by Paul Smith with the Maharam Design Studio is the latest collaboration between the legendary British fashion designer and the US textile company.
In/Out spoke exclusively to Sir Paul Smith about this latest collaboration and being so involved in the brand as both chairman and designer, sold in 66 markets around the world.
The patchwork pattern of Assembled Check is a contemporary spin on Paul Smith’s ‘classics with a twist’. In particular, a printed silk blouse from a previous women’s collection, which drew inspiration from Miami’s sun-drenched palette and art-deco architecture. The pale hues of peach, lilac and pink are contrasted with bolder chartreuse and blue tones. The check created with horizontal and vertical bars (or Paul Smith’s signature stripe), has been translated into a jacquard-woven cotton upholstery textile.
Paul Smith has worked with Maharam since 2002, creating 11 textiles including the 2015 Houndstooth design that was also lifted from one of the designer’s runway shows. An interpretation of a classic plaid is also planned for the brand early next year.
What was the inspiration behind Assembled Check for Maharam?
Anyone that’s seen a photo of my office will know that it’s a pretty mad place. Filled with lots of different objects that I’ve collected from around the world or that have been sent to me. It’s like an Aladdin’s cave! We were in a meeting discussing the fabrics that we design in collaboration with Maharam and I realised that the pattern on a piece from our women’s collection would work very well. I always say “you can find inspiration in everything” and there you go!
This original design was inspired by Miami, what are your favourite travel destinations?
I travel most weeks and so spend a lot of time in places all over the world. I always think choosing a favourite is so hard as it depends on your mood or the purpose of your visit. It’s always great visiting my team in Japan which I’ve been doing at least twice a year for the last twenty-five years, but then it’s also nice to take some time out which I do in Tuscany in the summer.
What is a typical day like for you at Paul Smith HQ in London?
When I’m in London I start everyday with a swim and the get to the studio around 6AM. I have 3 hours at the beginning of the day when I’m more-or-less the only person there. I can put some music on and get my head around everything that’s going on before everyone else starts their days. From that time on the schedule is packed. I can go from a discussion about the idea for a new shop in Panama one minute to talking about finance in the next! There’s lots of plates to spin!
How important is being close to your brand, and creating bespoke stores in each market?
More important now than ever before. The market has never been so competitive. The fish-pond is the same size that it always was, it’s just now there’s lots more people trying to fish from it. So you have to stand out. I always say “think global, but act local”. By that I mean that we should be thinking big all the time but always acting like we’re a local neighbourhood business with individuality and independence.
What can we look forward to next in the wonderful world of Paul Smith?
The challenge is actually saying “no” to things. Lots of collaborations come my way, my strength has been saying no, but the ones I say yes to I react very naturally and instinctively. You’ll have to watch this space for what’s coming next!