We sat down with internationally-acclaimed designer Sir Paul Smith to find out a bit more about what Christmas means to him and how he likes to spend it in London.
What does Christmas mean to you?
“For me, Christmas is about family and about coming together. Often in today’s world, families can find themselves living all over the world, but Christmas is a time for everyone to be together. In our house it’s always about the old school traditions; carol services, a real Christmas tree, nicely-wrapped gifts and the excitement of everyone being together.”
How would you describe Christmas in one word?
Your favourite Christmas childhood memory?
“Throughout my childhood, for me, Christmas was all about Meccano. I loved that it was all about making things and my Father was a passionate advocate of doing things with your hands. Most of all, I remember the uncontainable excitement of ripping open gifts!”
What do you love about spending Christmas in London? Where do you go and what do you do to get in the festive spirit?
“Christmas in London is very different from what it was 20 years ago. In a very old-fashioned way, you used to have to make sure the car was full of petrol, make sure you’d bought enough milk and so on because all the shops literally closed, there was no corner shop or garage open! And of course, the other thing was there was no traffic ever, I could stand on the street and shout “Is there anybody out there?!” That’s changed quite a lot over the years, but it’s still a lovely time to get out and walk around the city.
Now, rather than enjoying the empty streets, I enjoy listening in on a French or Spanish family chatting about their Christmas in London. I also always enjoy spending time in my shops over Christmas, you’ll often find me working behind the till in my shop on Albemarle Street in Mayfair.”
What will you be getting for friends and family this year for Christmas (without giving away who to of course)?
“I’m privileged to have been with my wife for a very long time. By this point I think we’ve bought more or less everything – the camera, the handbag, the dress and so on. Nowadays, we have an unwritten rule which says that if we can find something that takes “effort” then we’ll go with that – make it ourselves or have it made by a craftsman. Otherwise, we just enjoy being in one another’s company.”
What’s the most memorable gift you’ve ever received?
“A hand-tapestry heart, given to me by my wife.”
Sir Paul Smith is one of Britain’s foremost designers. He is renowned for his creative spirit, which combines tradition and modernity. Famous for its clothing and accessories collections, Paul Smith specialises in an inventive use of traditional craftsmanship and cutting-edge design to create beautifully made, desirable, modern pieces. Paul Smith is loved across the world. From its origins in one small shop in Nottingham, England, in 1970, Paul Smith has grown into a global business, selling in over seventy countries. Starting with one men’s collection, the business now comprises collections for men, women and children, including, shoes, accessories, fragrance and home furnishings. Throughout its development Paul Smith’s values of curiosity, quality and authenticity have remained constant.