Paul Smith has been a regular visitor to the Chelsea Flower Show for the last 10 years. He admits that he is no gardener himself but the receipt of a Press Ticket and his wife’s passion soon had him hooked.
He finds inspiration for his fashion collection, both summer and winter, in the wide range of forms and textures as well as the immense, also riotous on occasions, juxtapositioning of colour. Some blooms are fragile and dainty while others are bold, rude displays verging on arrogance.
For his winter collections he is looking for rich and hot colours often found in plants coming from exotic climates such as those displayed by the azaleas.
Picture credit: Geoff Pugh and Rex
For his summer collections he tends to choose white and pastel colours.
Burncoose Nurseries’ “Vibernum Kilimanjaro Sunrise” won Plant of the Year. (Photo: Heathcliff O’Malley, The Telegraph)
Paul Smith is proud to have a studio where paint brushes and crayons are still used and takes numerous photographs at the show that he can then share with his designers to create prints. Some of the designs are obviously made from photographic images that have been manipulated but it is refreshing to have the combination of both digital and manual styles in his collections. He uses both colourful and monochromatic renditions in dresses, scarves, skirts, blouses and shirts.
He cites the Iris as one of his favourite flowers, a form that has influenced us for centuries from the Fleur de Lys in heraldry to Tiffany lamps.
Photo: Healthcliff O’Malley
Paul Smith’s favourite part of the show
The Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden (Picture: Nick Harvey/REX Shutterstock)
Time for Tea! (Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Paul Cummins’ eight-metre-tall feature in the Great Pavilion, with hundreds of hand-painted ceramic tulips. (Photo: RHS)
Catch display in the Great Pavilion (Photo: BBC Two)
Roses in the Great Pavilion (Photo: BBC Two)
Click here to see more of the Great Pavilion, with a video from the RHS.
Inspiration for his signature stripy socks
Picture: REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
Paul Smith admires the work involved in planning, setting up and holding The Chelsea Flower show . A event that is open less than a week but take months, if not years, to organize rather like a fashion show.
It is heartening to have our firm opinion that as designers we should be constantly seeking inspiration from other disciplines and environments confirmed by such a stalwart of British design.
46 minutes into the BBC Chelsea review, see Paul Smith discussing the important inspiration he takes from the Chelsea show: Click here to watch
Paul Smith Prints
Paul Smith is continuously inspired by the Chelsea Flower Show. Here we look at the results of these inspirations in his collections over the last few years.
Paul Smith S/S 13: “A dreamy summer mix of collaged florals.” (Photo: Paul Smith Focus)
Paul Smith S/S 15 (Photos: Vogue)
Paul Smith Womenswear Black Collection 2015 (Photo: paulsmith.co.uk)
Paul Smith Swimwear S/S 14 (Photo: paulsmith.co.uk)
Even in home furnishings…