Oslo’s City Hall may seem like an odd source of inspiration, but then, Brit fashion royalty Paul Smith has never done anything by half measure. With over 40 years of clothing and accessory retailing under his undeniably stylish belt, one of Smith’s greatest assets is his uncanny and unerringly effective merchandising, and nowhere can you see this to better effect than at his glittering and spacious new Chinese flagship. Since its opening in June, in Beijing’s happening retail hub Sanlitun, the store has swiftly established itself as a go to as much amongst fashionistas as interior design fans.
Mixing playfulness, classicism and modernity, once through the store’s soaring plate glass frontage, the shopportunist is plunged into a pastel colour block shoe and accessory salon that channels architect Luis Barragan and artist Hélio Oiticica, while a further room (hello, Oslo City Hall) is devoted to the Men’s Collection. In subsequent rooms on subsequent floors the entire Paul Smith range (Paul Smith jeans, women’s collection, Paul by Paul Smith, Black Label, London Collection and PS by Paul Smith) plays out against an elegant backdrop of French antiques, wood panelling, brass fittings, Italian glass, terrazzo, and a plethora of pictures, prints and photographs by the designer himself. Oslo or bust!