Monday, April 6, 2009

Mr. Smith Goes to San Francisco!

I am one of those people that qualify as an “Anglophile”. If it’s English, I love it! The Brits have an uncommon gift for mixing the new with the old and are able to take something quirky and make it serious business. One of the text book examples of this is the designer Paul Smith.

A fantastic vintage wing chair upholstered in a trademark Paul Smith fabric in the Men's suit area.

Since opening up his first shop in England in 1970, he has become a style icon and shows why Anglophilia is such a mainstay in popular culture. Mr. Smith’s style is the perfect balance of kooky and chic. His stores not only sell his trademark look clothes but new and vintage books, leather goods, luggage, vintage art, fragrance and accessories. Since the first time I visited one of his stores in Los Angeles, and then later in London I have been a huge fan. He treats his stores as a curated gallery featuring vintage finds such as watches, art and books from around the globe alongside his sportswear and accessories.

A collection of vintage art graces a wall in Men's accessories.

When I learned that he would be opening a store in San Francisco I was elated. I knew his style and approach to retailing would be a great match with San Francisco. The store officially opened on March 6th, but I didn’t make it there until yesterday. I snapped some pictures with my iPhone to show a few of the great features of the new store. That ingenious British style is hard at work in this latest incarnation of Mr. Smith’s vision.

I love how the heating and air conditioning ducts are done in copper!

The first aspect of this store (as with all of Paul Smith’s stores) is that it is a little off the beaten path. Instead of front and center in Union Square, it’s down Geary a block or two tucked away from the main shopping commotion. A great feature of the store is that it goes through the entire block, and has an entrance on Maiden Lane as well…very San Francisco! Along with the great mix of merchandise and hip design elements I was amazed by the selection of out of print and vintage design books (something I love!) combined with an equally fantastic selection of new and current books.

A tremendous collection of new and vintage design books...I'm sold!

If you’re looking for a great place to go clothes shopping with lots of style or you’re in the market for a great gift, the new Paul Smith store is worth the trip.

A terrific French style chair upholstered in trademark Paul Smith fabric in a fitting room.

Paul Smith is located at 50 Geary Street in San Francisco or visit:

David Hansen

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