The Rurbanist: Q&A with Paul Smith
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The Rurbanist: Q&A with Paul Smith

An exclusive interview with Paul Smith, our November/December Rurbanist...

Paul Smith on being an early riser, celebrating 50 years as a designer and the joys of a navy suit…

Paul Smith

Where’s home to you?

Home to me is where my wife Pauline is. We live together in Holland Park.

Where do you go to ‘lose’ yourself?

My studio is where my creativity flourishes and I lose myself into my creativity.

What’s one of your daily rituals?

I wake up very early, at 5am, to go for my daily swim at 6am, and I’m in the office for 7am. That is my daily routine. I have been doing this for years and it gives me great comfort.

Favourite place in London for a good night out?

Pauline and I aren’t night owls but Claridge’s is hard to beat when you’re looking for something special.


Favourite piece in your wardrobe?

That would have to be a navy suit. My current favourite [by Paul Smith] is a deconstructed blazer where we removed the shoulder padding and there is hardly any lining. It’s incredibly comfortable but still has the look of wearing a suit.


Paul Smith Blazer

Best thing a cabbie has ever said to you?

Probably mistaking me for Bill Nighy. That happens a lot!

What was the last book you read?

I hardly have the time to read books, but I recently came out with a coffee table book in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Paul Smith brand. As a surprise my team had arranged for my friends to write me letters with anecdotes about our friendship. It was fantastic reading all of those kind words back.

Paul Smith 50th Anniversary Book, edited by Tony Chambers (Phaidon, £49.95);

Paul Smith 50th Anniversary Book, edited by Tony Chambers, £49.95,

Most valuable piece of advice?

Never assume. It remains my company motto to this day.

What are weekends made for?

Spending time with my Pauline, visiting galleries and reading the newspaper. Oh and working in one of my shops; on a Saturday afternoon you’ll often find me at Paul Smith, No. 9 Albemarle Street.

What would really improve your life?

For this pandemic to be over. Although I do hope we get out of this with everyone being a little kinder to one another and less rushed.

Signature dish?

Baked beans on toast – I’m not much of a cook, as you can tell, but I can scramble that together.

The last place you ‘discovered’?

The recent lockdown hasn’t given much opportunity for discovery, but I’ve rediscovered things in my office that had been buried deep under piles of books, cycling jerseys and other things.

What’s your favourite accomplishment?

Continuity. It’s not easy in this business and it’s something I’m very proud of. What are you looking forward to? More of the same, please!


Gillian Anderson / Sheherazade Goldsmith / Jo Malone / Nigel Slater