On Thursday morning I made my way to central London, having been invited to Paul Smith’s head offices to meet the man himself and hear about the brand’s upcoming fragrance release: Optimistic. In this kind of situation, I’m never quite sure what to expect. The Paul Smith brand is one that I have always admired for being fun and quirky, but it is hard to imagine how this mood would translate into a ‘meet and greet’ type situation.
I was therefore expecting some kind of awkward corporate set-up followed by more awkward questions and even more awkward dingling around at the end. Upon arrival, I was nothing short of startled to be led straight up to his office and greeted by the man himself with a warm handshake and pat on the back.
What followed has not only cemented my perception of the brand, but has also somewhat inspired me on a personal level too. Paul Smith is probably the most down to earth, intriguing and inspiring man I’ve ever come across. His office looks like something from a magazine shoot, a relative rabbit warren of toys, gadgets, books, rabbits, knickknacks and even bicycles. During the hour that our small gathering of beauty bloggers spent there, we were not only encouraged to have a look around but actively shown and told stories about all kinds of trinkets that Paul has picked up during his long career in the fashion world.
After a few minutes with the designer you realise why the name of the new fragrances is so fitting. Especially in recent times, where optimism has become an even rarer trait. Paul Smith remains optimistic, interested and utterly inspiring. Having planned a business trip to Japan (where the Paul Smith brand has seen great success) months ago, he is still travelling there next week to make sure all of his staff and friends are alright ‘and to give them a big hug, because they need it’.
His attitude is truly infectious and has left me with so much respect for not only him, but the brand he has built and everything that he stands for. A little optimism is what we need right now don’t you think?
The fragrances (one for men and one for women, which Paul actually spoke about very little, but had some bottles on his desk for us to try) smell lovely too.
Fresh and light hearted, they are both the kind of scents that you can’t really not like. Definitely worth checking out, they’re available in Boots now and nationwide 1st May.