INTERVIEW: Paul Smith to keep men’s show in Paris
Paul Smith talks to FashionMag.com, reflecting on his relationship to education, Paris and the British fashion Council several minutes after having presented his Spring-Summer 2013, which was characterized by graphic prints and a patchwork of textures, stripes and plenty of silk in a rich palette of colors, dominated by red, blue and ocher.
FashionMag.com: You just finished showing your collection in the foyer of Central Saint Martins: what is your relation to the world of education and to this school in particular?
Paul Smith: I've never been to fashion school. But when I met my wife Pauline at the age of 21, she taught fashion after having herself matriculated at the Royal College of Art. My connection with the teaching of fashion has been very strong from that point onwards. And then she was my teacher at home for years and helped me build my design universe. At this time, Pauline was also giving courses to Jann Rapley, who has since become president of Central Saint Martins. This is certainly why we were able to hold our show here also (laughs) ...
FM: Do you also teach sometimes?
PS: Not exactly, but I regularly meet with students. In fact, this week I will receive at the office a group of 22 young entrepreneurs from Mexico, France, Italy and Singapore, among other places. We will talk a few hours and I'll try to make them understand how things work, at least from my point of view.
FM: With the creation of a London Fashion Week for menswear, the British Fashion Council this year is engaging in very active lobbying. Has anyone asked you to repatriate your menswear to London where you are already showing womenswear?
PS: In fact, yes. But for now, I really do not see how I could move my men's show to London. Since my first collection, which dates back to 1976 or 1977, I always shown in Paris with the men's show. So in a way, it's a little unfair to ask that of me, given my relationship with Paris. This relationship is in fact not only economic but also emotional because I employ a team of forty people in my showroom in Paris. It would not be fair to them ... This would please the British Fashion Council, of course, but it really does not work for me, unfortunately. But this is an initiative that I can only support. Besides for the first edition of "London Collections: Men," I attended a conference together with Suzy Menkes. As for the next one, I will do something for them again.
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