When I lived in the beautiful, ugly, serene, raucous, remarkably fashionable and endlessly fascinating city of Nottingham in the 1970s, I spent some time with my nose pressed against the glass of a strange boutique in the old, and then still quite industrial, Lace Market area.
As I remember, the tiny shop would have one shirt or one jacket in the window, not priced. The interior and the trendy-looking people inside seemed friendly, but I was a bit too terrified to enter. It looked like a place where if you needed to ask the price, you couldn’t afford it – not at 19, anyway.
The Paul Smith idea, and the name, did all right, as you may have noticed, while he and the company have retained strong links with Nottingham.
This new product from the Paul Smith accessories range has the same appeal as the whole range. It’s a high-quality pair of headphones from a long-established Japanese manufacturer, Audio-Technica – with two likeable twists: they’re Paul Smith-signed, and have a couple of tiny, multicolour stripe Paul Smith signifiers visible. And they come in a sweet, but still wholly masculine, bag made from pinstriped suiting material and with another Smith-ish flash of colour.
The headphones sound lovely, although I would admit that the loveliness is enhanced subliminally by the Paul Smithness of the whole enterprise. Commendable and, just... nice.