For all of London Collections Men’s bold and brazen moments - from J.W. Anderson live-streaming his show on Grindr to Moschino’s eye-popping collection inspired by Gilbert and George - genuine poignancy was also on show.

In one of our favourite displays during LC:M this season, Paul Smith recreated his tiny first shop in Nottingham (opened in 1970 and measuring just 3 x 3 square meters with no windows) at the Pace Gallery in Mayfair on Monday, giving us a peek into his creative process. The life-size recreation revealed the designer’s fascination with finding inspiration in everything that surrounds him.

There, Frank Auerbach’s melancholy artwork, which influenced the prints on Smith’s scarves, sat next to vintage speedometers that inspired his watch designs. An old squeezebox, used to play tango songs, hinted at the musical inspiration behind Smith’s colourful new bag. In an age where almost everything we consume can be purchased online, this presentation, as well as his stores worldwide including his new Dover Street Market space, is a powerful argument for the irreplaceable, “emotive” offline experience.

Another element that added to the poignancy of this presentation was its nod to David Bowie, who passed away on Sunday. Marking the release of Bowie’s last album “Blackstar” on Friday, Smith had teamed up with the musician and long-time friend, as well as graphic designer Jonathan Barnbrook, to create a special T-shirt for the occasion. 

The David Bowie x Paul Smith T-shirts can be purchased at

Text by Jainnie Cho