Dear Shaded Viewers and Diane,
There is a certain candid honesty in the figure of Sir Paul Smith, some genuine but sensible amazement before the wonders of life, fluid soothing habits and old-fashioned British politeness in his manners. At the same time a precious, enviable, anachronistic optimism, a kind of balanced wisdom and unjustified humility. Stephane Carrel's camera follows him discreetly, tactfully, from his early morning swims all the way to Japan. And walking side by side with him through the deserted dawning streets, you could almost perceive how Paul Smith's brilliant mind works, collecting inspirations from fortuitous details and building up imaginative patterns while contemplating the recurring modularity of Parisian architecture.
He recalls those times when he used details to embellish his shirts because he couldn't afford but plain white fabric, and his current empire of more than 400 shops seems even more impressive. And if you wondered how he managed to run such a successful business while preserving the down-to-earth, cheerful personality he has, you would see him annually visiting his Tokyo stores, talking to students, getting photographed with fans, signing walls and skirts and valuing personal contacts as an essential part of his job.
As much as when he designs clothes, he can find inspiration for his shootings everywhere: for this campaign he found it in a snapshot of the pope, surrounded by few blurred cardinals in the dark background.