ACCESSORIES COME TO THE HOUSE OF SMITH
Byline: James Fallon
Paul Smith might have started late in the game, but he’s determined to make a splash in accessories.
The British designer, who is known for his classic Brit lifestyle tailored with a twist, has just opened his first accessories store in London’s Notting Hill across the road from his Westbourne House flagship store. He also has converted the lower ground floor of his women’s wear store in London’s Covent Garden into an accessories area.
“There is no need to be a rocket scientist to see that lots of rather large companies are doing very well selling accessories,” Smith said. “As our collections have grown bigger and bigger, we just needed more space to show them properly. Accessories have become a very important way for people to express their characters. And that is what Paul Smith is about.”
The two-floor, 1,000-square-foot store in Notting Hill was designed by architect Sophie Hicks — a favorite of Smith’s — and carries the full collection of women’s and men’s accessories, including footwear, watches, leather goods, socks and hats, as well as fragrances and lingerie. The men’s area is on the ground floor and features such typical Smith touches as red lacquer walls and a row of porcelain dogs holding socks in their mouths. The downstairs area is decorated like a women’s club, with silk velvet curtains, leather chairs and an Auboisson-style rug designed by Smith, in a new partnership with the London store The Rug Co.
Smith has further expanded his accessories collection for spring, stepping up footwear designed in-house for the first time. The footwear previously was designed by the British footwear designer Emma Hope.
“We’ll probably do more accessories stores because this one has done very well,” Smith said. “But as is usual with Paul Smith, we don’t have a big plan. We just do what feels right.”