6 years ago

March 2016

  • Text
  • Rover
  • Jaguar
  • Rugby
  • Convertible
  • Evoque
  • Holland
  • Defender
  • Aluminium
  • Wadi
  • Ratan
Meet Ratan Tata | Travel through the Outback in a Discovery Sport | Head to California in search of the Lost Coast | Sir Paul Smith and his bespoke Defender | Grass roots Rugby


A DRIVE WITH… After a couple of hours in Sir Paul Smith’s company, you walk away with a jauntier view of the world. His infectious sense of “why not?” lingers, pervading your thoughts. Life is not to be taken too seriously – it’s there to be enjoyed and to fascinate. It’s this positive energy that has helped propel him from owning one boutique in Nottingham to a privately owned empire of 265 stores across 83 countries worldwide, including 28 Paul Smith Collection shops in Japan alone. I’m waiting for Paul on a dark rainy day in his London Covent Garden HQ. He’s going to take Onelife for a ride in the one-off Land Rover Defender he collaborated on. I’ve been shown into the showroom where his latest collection hangs. He’s known for his playful use of colour, and neither the Defender nor the clothes disappoint. The menswear features yellow Chelsea boots, blue brothel creepers, dusty pink blazers, orange raincoats, a beautiful cashmere coat in shocking baby bubblegum pink, a lavender suit, viridian green trousers and ant motif trousers, tie and jumper. The car has a similar coat of many colours – 27 on the exterior alone – although it’s more subtle. Paul bounds in on long legs just as I’m trying on a pair of big silver sunglasses and he guffaws as they get tangled in my hair as I try to whip them off. This would not happen with some designers. “Alright!” he says. “Let’s go.” We thread our way through a corridor full of visiting fashion buyers. He shakes hands with all of them, remembers the names of half of them, and has a personal joke or quip with about a third. Then we’re on the street blinking in the rain, looking at the Defender before we get in and join the Covent Garden traffic. Talk us through Paul Smith’s Defender I was so excited to work with the Defender because I’ve had a long wheelbase one at my place in Italy for many years. I love the practicality of this vehicle. It’s attracted everyone from farmers to the Forces. I thought it would be very amusing to do the panels in different colours, almost as if you’d replaced bits over the years and the colour they had in the yard that day was burgundy or grey. There are also very fluorescent colours on the car, referring to the fact that they’re used as emergency vehicles. It all reflects the honest history of the Defender. This car just works. So many cars now are full of modern technology, which a lot of people don’t ever really use – and in my case don’t know how to use! This extends to very basic things. I travel almost every week and in some hotels you can’t work the telephone system or the lights or the curtains. With the Defender, it just works. You switch the lights on [he demonstrates]… and off. Click [he demonstrates], and the door locks. You pull the handbrake up and it works [he doesn’t demonstrate this as we’re now motoring down Kingsway in Holborn]. And if you have a little bash on the corner and damage a light, there are two screws and you can take it off and put a new one on. I love it. It’s very British. Everyone who’s tried to do similar things has rounded them off too much or put little pieces on them that are decorative rather than utilitarian. “ I ’ V E G O T B O U N D L E S S E N E R G Y A N D M A S S E S O F IDEAS. THE LEAST OF MY PROBLEMS IS IDEAS” SIR PAUL SMITH You originally wanted to be a racing cyclist… if you had continued, what would you be doing now? Yeah, I fell into fashion – literally! I raced to the age of 18 when I had my accident. I wasn’t really good enough or brave enough to be a professional cyclist – so I probably would have ended up as a photographer. My dad was an amateur photographer and he gave me a camera when I was 11. It was my first brush with creativity. But instead I have a lovely job that’s taken me around the world and I have a lovely day every day, y’know? From cycling to fashion – how did that happen? I’d been in hospital for three months. When I got out I started going to this pub and met all the kids from the local art school. It was so fascinating. I discovered the world of painters, music and fashion and started working with one of these students who was opening a little boutique in Nottingham. All I wanted to do was be in a creative world. Then I met my girlfriend – now my wife – Pauline. She’d studied fashion at the Royal College of Art and I learnt about fashion design through her. She said, you’ve got so much energy and so many ideas – why don’t you open your own shop? We opened this tiny little shop and we thought that would be it. People often ask me, when did you think you’d made it? To be honest, it was never like that. We just did a little bit better, year after year. We started selling in London, then in France and now we’re in 83 countries. There was never this determination in me that I’d have a business around the world or be 30

Clockwise from above: details from the 2015 range of Paul Smith coats; and his range of wallets; Sir Paul in his first store in Nottingham in the 70s; interior and exterior details of the Paul Smith Defender

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Land Rover Magazine


Land Rover Magazine showcases stories from around the world that celebrate inner strength and the drive to go Above and Beyond.

In this issue, New Defender is put through its paces by two inspirational young adventurers as they prepare for an expedition to the South Pole. We also celebrate 50 years of Range Rover by taking a journey of discovery to Dubai. As well as looking back, we look to future as a group of visionaries explain the technologies that could change the future for all of us.

Jaguar Land Rover Limited: Registered office: Abbey Road, Whitley, Coventry CV3 4LF. Registered in England No: 1672070