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MY LONDON

PAUL SMITH

The fashion designer buys gift wrapping at VV Rouleaux, likes a date at the Design Museum and takes an early dip at the Royal Automobile Club

Home is…

With my wife, Pauline, in Holland Park. We’ve lived here since the 1980s.

If you could buy any building in London and live there, which would it be?

The Prince of Wales West Lodge by Hyde Park. It is a beautiful tiny house, classic with wonderful proportions so I wouldn’t change a thing.


The Prince of Wales West Lodge

Where would you recommend for a first date?

A walk through the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park with a coffee, finishing up at the Design Museum in the old Commonwealth Institute if it’s going well!

Which shops do you rely on?

Daylesford for the obvious, Clarke’s restaurant for a special supper, VV Rouleaux for the perfect gift-wrapping, L Cornelissen & Son for art supplies and Rough Trade West for all my vinyl needs.

Daylesford

Have you ever had a run-in with a London police officer?

I hopped a light on amber (not red!) and the policeman who pulled me over said, ‘Oh, you’re Paul Smith, I wear your aftershave.’

What’s the best meal y ou’ve had?

The rombo al forno turbot at The River Café with my wife.
A truly memorable experience.

Where would you most like to be buried in London?

Brompton Cemetery.

What’s your biggest extravagance?

Visiting Browse & Darby, the art gallery on Cork Street. I’m a big fan of the artists they work with, often students from the Slade School of Art and particularly James Lloyd,
who was the first recipient of my and my wife’s scholarship.


James Lloyd painting

What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?

Arrange street parties all over London. I think we’re all desperate to let our hair down.

Who is your hero?

My wife — she taught me everything I know about design but especially about cut, shape and quality. And she keeps my feet firmly on the ground.


Who do you call when you want to have fun?

I don’t need to call anyone as I always have fun with my wife, any time,
any situation.

Who is the most iconic Londoner in history?

David Bailey.

What’s your London secret?

A daily, early morning swim at the RAC [Royal Automobile Club] to keep fit and have a good stretch. It sets me up for the day ahead.

The RAC pool


What’s the best thing a cabbie has ever said to you?

I often get, ‘Oh Paul, my friend used to play golf with you.’ I’ve never played golf!

What are you up to at the moment for work?

Designing spring/summer 22 and trying to be hopeful and optimistic about 2021.

Where do you go to let your hair down?

Nowadays it’s big walks in the park but for years it would be Ronnie Scott’s and the Marquee Club.


‘Paul Smith’ 50th anniversary book, edited by Tony Chambers, is out now (Phaidon)