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For one night only, we stepped into the impeccably dressed world of fashion designer Paul Smith.
As we arrive at the Design Museum for a private view of Hello, My Name is Paul Smith, we’re momentarily distracted by the backdrop of Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and the City twinkling across the river.
Once inside, we’re impressed again. This time by a floor-to-ceiling collection of framed photos, which we’re later told are all from Sir Paul’s own collection. Over a glass of bubbly, we take in as many of them as we can – the Bowie ones, in particular, catch our eye.
Next, a top-up of fizz before curator Donna Loveday starts the tour. Our group of 15 is shown around three rooms that have been created to replicate Paul Smith’s old Nottingham office, his first shop in Paris (in a hotel room) and his London design studio today.
We also wander through a retrospective of his fashion collections, marvel at a behind-the-scenes fashion show video, and spot some interesting items – a Mini Cooper, snowboard and bottle of HP sauce – among the many artefacts adorned with the brand’s trademark stripes.
By this time, we’d worked up quite an appetite. Just as well, for in-house restaurant the Blueprint Café had prepared quite a feast for us. Over a tartar of mackerel, followed by roast duck with salsify, purple sprouting broccoli and hazelnut crumb, and mascarpone parfait with lemon curd to finish, we get a chance to quiz Donna about curating the exhibition and meeting the man himself.
Best bit: getting a peek inside the designer’s recreated office. It was a complete mess.
This article was first published in Square Meal Venues & Events, spring 2014.