Monday, 12 July 2010

Forever Shop: Sir Paul Smith

That's Not My Age is a big Sir Paul Smith fan. I love his Britishness, his modesty and of course, his trademark stripes. Back in the eighties, the Nottingham-born designer coined the phrase 'classics with a twist' and though thirty years later, that term may feel a bit tired, I think it sums up the essence of PS nicely. As a collector of random paraphenalia, my favourite store is the one on Bond Street selling art, second-hand books and furniture. It's where I found my favourite Norman Parkinson book, Lifework, published for M&S in 1987.

A small selection of Paul Smith shirts can be found in the wardrobe of Mr That's Not My Age (usually the wrong way round on the hangers!), together with a drawer full of stripey socks. Similarly the brother in Manhattan has developed a penchant for PS - and I'm sure it's because after 10 years in New York, he hankers after a touch of quintessential British style. Together with my blog, it's one of the few things that remind him of home.

Anyway, to emphasize the enduring appeal of design and style, the Forever Shop at Selfridges has asked Sir Paul Smith, 64, to choose his top 10 books, and they are:

Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D. H. Lawrence
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
Buddha of Suburbia, Hanif Kureishi
The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn, David Okuefuna
The World in 1900: A Colour Portrait, Marc Walter and Sabine Arqua
Bauhaus - World of Art, Frank Whitford
Saul Steinberg - Illuminations, Smith
Christian Dior: The Man Who Made the World Look New, Marie France Pochna
Yves Saint-Laurent: A Biography, Alice Rawsthorn
1Domus 1928-1999 volume 1-12, Taschen

Personally, I wouldn't have chosen Harry Potter or Hanif Kureishi but I turned to the literary expert in our house for guidance. The Blog Widower has plenty of spare time on his hands to read books, so I asked his opinion of the top 10, 'I don't think much of his choice of fiction,' came the knowing reply, 'But yeah - Saul Steinberg, Bauhaus, Albert Kahn - his style books are really good.'

So, together, we've come up with the That's Not My Age top 10, see if you can tell which are his and hers:

The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
Hangover Square, Patrick Hamilton
Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel
Allure, Diana Vreeland
An Education, Lynn Barber
Decline and Fall, Evelyn Waugh
Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
The Beautiful Fall, Alicia Drake
Disgrace, JM Coetzee
Designs for Living, Josef + Anni Albers

What do you think of Paul Smith's top 10?

Forever Shop is in the Wonder Room Concept Store, Selfridges from July 14 - August 15 2010.

The painting of Sir Paul Brierley Smith by James Lloyd can be found in the National Portrait Gallery.


mispapelicos said...

I think that everybody has a top ten and they are all valid. Paul Smith himself seems like a top ten to me.
Thanks for a very well written post.

Vintage Vixen said...

Completely off topic but I have that M&S "Lifework" book, too. The images are just stunning and I haven't tired of looking at it in all the years I've owned it.
I absolutely adore "The Buddha Of Suburbia" so Sir Paul's choice is fine by me.

Fashionistable said...

Impossible for me to choose my top 10 books or music. They are always in a state of flux. I must get over to the Wonder Room though. Xxxx

Helena Halme said...

I much prefer your Top Ten to PS's, though I love his designs. (The Englishman's wardrobe resembles that of Mr ThatsNotMyAge's).

I'm with Fashionistable, it'd be impossible for me to choose a top ten. Having just been through shelves and shelves of books to see if any of them could be thrown out before The Big Move (horror of horrors) many of which have not been looked at for 15 years, my list would more like a Top 100.

Helena xx

Looking Fab in your forties said...

I guess I was a bit shocked he chose Harry Potter, but my daughters have all loved the books, but then they are not 64!

Silver Strands said...

Well written post. My top 10 would be COMPLETELY different - but I guess that's what makes the world go round!

That's Not My Age said...

VV- the Parkinson book is fab isn't it? I was going to take a photo and add a pic to this post but ran out of time. Ah well I'll just have do write about it another time.

Ta very much for your comments - actually I'm not really into lists, and I'm a bit like Fashionistable/Helen. Ask me next week and the top 10 will probably be completely different.

coz said...

The only ones I have read from PS's list are Lady Chatterley’s Lover & The Buddha of Suburbia - although I like both, neither would be in my top ten. However, I do like PS, so will be looking up the others on his list (except the Harry Potter!).
My top ten would also vary from one week to the next - that is, if my seemingly age related diminishing decision making ability allowed me to come up with a top ten at all! :-)

GoldenGirl said...

Mr GG loves Paul Smith and is currently coverting the latest PS polo shirts with the little stripy Zebras on.

I guess all top tens are subjective, my music top ten would be more difficult to compile than my book top ten, and both would depend on my mood probably. Wolf Hall wouldn't be on it, I am trying to read it at the moment and never suceed in reading more than five pages in a row

Tiffany said...

Sir Paul is one of my heroes. But I can't possibly do - or even comment on! - a Top 10. Too hard!

香昱信張君林 said...


mispapelicos said...

As you can see my blog is now bilingual, so English is most welcome. We are a bilingual family anyway.
Thank you for being there.

finchleygirl said...

Have never read the Harry Potters...shock horror, but all my family have. Testament of Youth by Vera Britten has got to be in the list somewhere. Must re read Disgrace as I can't remember being that moved by it.

Wild Swans said...

a random choice, hmmm, oh well

on another note -

Paul Smith' sensibility is uber pervasive. He is interested in all and why not? Whats the difference between a table, a chair, a scarf or skirt? Its all the same. He does it with a touch of the understated. Consistently well !