Again a movie day! today’s watching was Paul Smith: the gentleman designer. When I first got the mail for this screening, I had already made a perception of this movie, I thought it would be quite boring and dull to watch but it was totally opposite to what I thought. The documentary was rather inspiring!! There have been numerous fashion documentaries out, most of which have gone out of their way to bolster the idea.
For me, this documentary is interesting as it seems the antithesis to all these assumptions. Paul Smith may not be Karl Lagerfeld, but he is, nonetheless, a designer that has consistently inspired the fashion choices of many a British gent. And, he’s done this for 40 years. The documentary follows Smith on his daily routines, a british designer, down to earth and real doer. He left school at age of 15 and started working as a in the retail since then! Wow. He is around 60 years old now, enough experience in the retail according to me! He barely draws, but he talks and that’s mostly how he gets his ideas across. The fashion business has a pretty bad reputation (according to some people), it’s a tough place to survive.
The key to his creations – and he says so himself – is that he is a 60s child, and so much of his attitude and inspiration resonate with that vibe. There’s a huge musical influence, too. To commemorate the 70th birthday of John Lennon, Smith tells of his plans to build a shrine to John Lennon in one of his shop windows and at a design meeting, even the youngest members of his design team cite icons such as Frank Zappa as a reference. There are missed opportunities to discuss his past, his father’s influence and his standing amongst fellow fashion icons. This absence makes the film feel mildly orchestrated and a bit brand-y. But there are also some inspirational bits – the research process and dedication that the designer goes through, searching the markets, obsessively photographing, waking up in the night to take notes (that are almost illegible in the morning) prove Smith breathes his work.