Sir Paul Smith receives France’s highest honour
Thursday 28 January 2016
British fashion designer Sir Paul Smith has received the Légion d’honneur, France’s highest distinction, during a ceremony at the French Residence in Kensington, London.
The medal was presented by the French Ambassador to the UK, Sylvie Bermann. Sir Paul received the rank of Officier in the Order of the Légion d’honneur in recognition of his career-long ties with France.
Sir Paul’s first shop, which opened in Nottingham in 1970, was called Paul Smith Vêtements pour Hommes, and six years later he showed his first menswear collection in Paris. Since then, each new Paul Smith collection has been shown in the French capital.
Today, Paris is home to five Paul Smith boutiques as well as the company’s French office, Paul Smith France.
Ambassador Bermann said: “It is a great honour to be paying tribute today to Sir Paul Smith, a revolutionary figure in British design whose flair and audacity have left an indelible mark on French fashion.
“I am thrilled that this uniquely talented man chose to make France a focal point for his creativity and entrepreneurship. He is an inspiration to a whole generation of young designers on both sides of the Channel.”
Sir Paul said: "I’ve had a special relationship with France for many years. I had my first fashion show in Paris in 1976 and since then I’ve had around 80 shows in the city. Outside of Paris I’ve got strong relationships all over the country. It’s a wonderful honour to receive this accolade."
Guests at the ceremony included actor Shaun Evans, the Director of the Design Museum, Deyan Sudjic OBE and fashion journalist Suzy Menkes.