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Fashion moves fast but talent leaves a lasting impression

Well hasn’t it all got rather hectic recently, even by the standards of one of the busiest industries going?

Several company results were released last week, with some looking lean and strong while others appear as solid as a wet paper bag full of blancmange. Marks & Spencer clothing sales are down again, Primark and SuperGroup’s are up, while Ralph Lauren is also in good shape.

Another big US retailer arrived this week in the shape of J Crew’s London flagship, while another, Gilly Hicks, exited as it retrenched into Hollister stores. Meanwhile Louis Vuitton had its (town)house warming for its three-floor mega-shop-in-shop in Selfridges (look out for my interview with Roberto Eggs, president of Louis Vuitton for Europe, Middle East and Africa next week).

Will all this constant flux in fashion, it’s sometimes important to step back a bit and take stock of where we’ve all come from, which is why it seems appropriate that this week sees the Design Museum in London celebrate the career to date of Sir Paul Smith, with his retrospective exhibition Hello, My Name Is Paul Smith.

I met Sir Paul about three years ago. His office is famously crammed with an inordinate amount of objects and points of inspiration, and thankfully he hadn’t tidied up on my behalf. Books were piled high on his desk, paintings and photos were arranged butted up to each other on the walls and paraphernalia from a lifetime of travelling and experiences filled every nook and cranny.

From a humble postage stamp of a store in Nottingham to a global brand and British success story, Sir Paul, a designer who understands shops, deserves this retrospective as he’s built a career from a passion and a bit of saved-up cash. It’s a timely reminder that talent and hard work over a sustained period will always endure.

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