Designer Paul Smith has been at the forefront of fashion and creativity for over 30 years. His brand symbolises both British eccentricity and tailoring with its unique creative vision, sense of humour and individual take on traditional style.
The Paul Smith shops that house his collections all over the world are no different. Each one reflects its location and the style of Paul Smith in a completely different way; in Los Angeles it’s a shocking pink building with movie-set styling on Melrose Avenue, and in Tokyo there is a Japanese garden in the middle of the Jingumae store.
The London flagship Westbourne House opened in 1998 after a transformation by London architect Sophie Hicks from near wreck into the realisation of Paul Smith's dream to have a shop in the informal setting of a house. A Georgian-style double-fronted town house, it is close to the boutique shopping area of Westbourne Grove and the famous antiques market on Portobello Road.
Despite its traditional exterior, the inside of Westbourne House is the perfect Paul Smith mix of tradition and modern design. A central glass staircase allows light to flood down the three floors and into the side rooms through internal windows. The stairwell is lined with paintings, prints and posters, and the store is furnished with antique chairs, cabinets and other pieces collected by the Paul Smith team.
This diverse collection is designed to complement the clothing and accessories collections, as Paul Smith explains: ‘We’re a leading and uniquely British brand. We mix up one-off antiques with high-quality tailoring: the chair you sit on when you buy a suit is for sale and we can wrap the suit and have the chair waiting for you when you get home.’
At Westbourne House each of the Paul Smith collections is given its own customised space reflecting its identity within the wider brand. Menswear - along with Paul Smith & John Lobb shoes exclusive to this store in the UK - is presented laid out on marble tables and in wooden wardrobes in the Archer Room where there is a painting above the fireplace, while Paul Smith womenswear is lined up on brass clothes rails draped in ivy in a mirror-walled room across the hall.
On the top floor, the Paul Smith tailor works in an attic room, which has fabric rolls and samples stacked against the walls and a workbench in the middle ready for cutting patterns or making adjustments.
This is the place to find out which Paul Smith collection is the one for you while picking up a special piece of furniture or gift for a design-conscious friend.
Westbourne House was the first of the Paul Smith stores to offer a bespoke tailoring service, which is still offered today. The tailor on the top floor will guide you through the finest Italian, French and British fabrics to find the right one for you and, in signature Paul Smith style, there’s a selection of brightly coloured and patterned linings to choose from, too.
Paul Smith, 122 Kensington Park Road, London W11 2EP, +44 (0)20 7727 3553
Monday-Friday 10am–6pm; Saturday 10am–6.30pm; Sunday 12noon–5pm