Paul Smith, one of Britain’s most successful designers and fashion businessmen, is launching his first collection of children's wear.
Paul Smith Junior will go on sale in September at major stockists including Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Brown Thomas.
The new range, sized for newborns up to 14 years old, and priced between £34 and £250, bears all the familiar hallmarks of Smith’s quirky classics-with-a-twist approach to design, and has a playful, child-like charm. The bright, punchy colour palette and the familiar silhouettes have been ‘borrowed’ from the main men’s and women’s collections and ‘downsized’ to suit.
The girls’ range includes rose-print, silk dresses and cute, fairisle cardigans; soft, jersey, long-sleeve T-shirts to layer under wool smocks; tiered peasant-skirts, corduroy jackets, wool pea-coats and kilts, tweed shorts, and masses of vibrant stripes. The key pieces in the boys’ collection include multi-stripe and floral shirts, graphic-printed padded jackets, quirky Tees, khaki parkas, pinstripe jackets and luxurious cashmere knits.
Sir Paul Smith (he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2000) is one of the best-known and best-loved names in fashion. Born in Nottinghamshire, his first ambition was to be a professional racing cyclist, a goal cut short by a terrible accident, which, inadvertently led to the start of his fashion career - during six months’ recuperation in hospital he made new friends, several of whom were art students; Smith’s interest was aroused. He began to take evening classes in tailoring and then joined Lincroft Kilgour in Savile Row where his designs were worn by celebrities including George Best. With the help of his then-girlfriend (now wife), Pauline Denyer, who was a Royal College of Art graduate, and a small amount of savings, he opened his first shop in Nottingham in 1970.
His approach of incorporating upper-crust tailoring, with something upbeat and unexpected, proved the key to his success. Menswear led to women’s wear; to shows in Paris; to a hugely-lucrative business in Japan; and to Smith ultimately heading a massive, multi-million pound global empire.
He once said:”The reason I’ve been successful is because I’ve just got on and packed boxes and I know that VAT means Value Added Tax and not vodka and tonic.”