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11 Oct 2:00am

Paul Smith: ‘I’m still blessed with enjoying every day’

The Guardian
It’s 50 years since Paul Smith wandered into a windowless room in Nottingham and opened for business. The legendary British designer on keeping a sense of fun – and why he owes it all to his wife Pauline Paul Smith’s first shop, which opened on Friday 9 October 1970 at 6 Byard Lane in Nottingham, wasn’t exactly a shop. “I realised I couldn’t afford a shop, but found a room and called it a shop,” the 74-year-old fashion designer says. There was damp on the walls and no windows; it was only open on Fridays and Saturdays and to reach it you had to snake down a corridor. It had a fancy name, Paul Smith Vêtements Pour Homme, but a modest selection: it sold clothes (made by other people back then) and some odd bits, such as magazines and records. On that first Friday – somehow, he’s not sure – Smith took £35. He chuckles, “How the heck it survived is absolutely amazing!” The manager was an imposing blond named Homer: an Afghan hound belonging to Smith and Pauline Denyer, his then-girlfriend, now wife. “Homer was in charge and I worked with him,” Smith explains. “The interesting thing was that we looked exactly the same: big nose and long hair. And everybody talked to him first, of course, which I used to get a bit upset by. They’d all walk in and say, ‘Hi Homer!’ Then, ‘Oh, hello Paul.’”
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