without paul smith i’d just be HP

if you didn’t know HPMcQ are the initials of my surnames. yes yes not content with just the one, i have three. i’ve always had two, the H and the P are my very own and the McQ i acquired when i married Mr HPMcQ. but why would i just be HP without paul smith? well let me tell you.

i grew up in essex, a friend of mine from essex went to work in the paul smith buying office. a friend of both of ours then met a girl through our friend and she worked at paul smith too. actually she was paul smiths PA. we became very good friends and most fridays we would all meet up for drinks and chaos. through these friends at paul smith i met lots of other creative people at paul smith and we all became very good friends.

one september one of these friends had leaving drinks in a bar in covent garden not far from the paul smith head office. we all went. the denim designer at paul smith, who i had only met just the week before went to the leaving drinks too. he brought with him a friend. this friend was Mr McQ.

three years later to the date of our first date, we became Mr & Mrs HPMcQ.

so in short if paul smith didn’t become a clothing designer, my friend wouldn’t have worked for him, my other friend wouldn’t have met his now wife because she wouldn’t have been his PA, our other friend wouldn’t have worked for him to be able to then leave working for him to then have a leaving party, and the denim designer wouldn’t have deisgned for him and then wouldn’t have taken his friend to the leaving party where we met each other! and breathe.

so paul smith i thank you.

this is why when we heard that paul smith was to curate a small exhibition at the design museum, we really had to go.

hello my name is paul smith, is a small but beautifully curated exhibition marking a celebration of paul’s career to date. a very different career to the world of professional cycling which was the track that he was following until a terrible accident halted those dreams. however whilst he was in hospital he made some new friends and once he had left he arranged to meet with them in a pub which was frequented by the students of the local art college. paul knew he wanted to be part of the creative and colourful world.

within a few years he was managing his own boutique in nottingham, and with the encouragement  of his girlfriend pauline, a fashion graduate, paul took evening classes in tailoring. with a small amount of saving he opened his first store, well actually more like a room as it only measured three meters square. but here he was able to create what he wanted.

the study

a lot of people look but don’t see

pauls first show in paris in a hotel bed room


pauls fathers was a camera enthusiast. this camera belong to him. paul carries a camera with him everywhere he goes, and now he shoots all his own campaign photos too.

stripe mini

each and every store is totally different

button wall

the archive

wall of pictures, photos and art

hello my name is paul smith



  1. March 28, 2014 / 07:27

    Lovely story and the exhibition looks fab!

    • March 29, 2014 / 09:51

      you should pop along it’s really rather lovely x

  2. March 28, 2014 / 09:42

    Aww, that’s a lovely post, you had me a little emotional at the beginning (xx), and then with the ‘Pauline’ photo at the end, I am on the brink!!

    It’s on my list for this weekend, going to try to get to the Royal Academy first though…Sensing Spaces finishes next week… 🙂 x

    • March 29, 2014 / 09:52

      yes the sensing spaces is meant to be really good and the kids seem to be loving it too. might try and get there tomorrow x

  3. March 28, 2014 / 09:52

    Awww, love you two, and love this story too. Exhibition looks fab as well.

    • March 29, 2014 / 09:55

      i got a goodun’ that’s for sure 🙂

  4. March 28, 2014 / 10:18

    Awww, that’s really lovely. I love his designs! The exhibition looks great

    • March 29, 2014 / 09:58

      the exhibition is small but wonderful x

  5. March 28, 2014 / 10:49

    Well I never even knew that! Lovely story and fantastic exhibition – so bright.

    • March 29, 2014 / 10:05

      oh yeah i have one hell of a surname!

  6. March 28, 2014 / 11:21

    what an amazing story! a love story i would say!

    and paul smith i am sorry i am not in london as i would’ve loved to come!

    • March 29, 2014 / 10:06

      you would have loved it too otilla x

  7. March 28, 2014 / 14:21

    What a fabulous story!
    I love Paul Smith and it is great to know that he helps design lives as well as clothes!

    • March 29, 2014 / 10:08

      thanks donna, funny when you look back and realise what an impact he has had in our group of friends and he probably doesn’t know the half of it!

  8. March 28, 2014 / 14:37

    What a great story, it’s funny the twists and turns our lives take, I often wonder how my life would have been different if I’d chosen a different turn at each crossroad.

    Looks like a fab exhibition too.

    • March 29, 2014 / 10:09

      too mind blowing to think about!!

  9. March 28, 2014 / 14:52

    What a lovely story and post, loved the pictures too. How gorgeous is your boy in front of the buttons? If you are ever in Nottingham I will take you to his flagship home town store, it is rather nice x

    • March 29, 2014 / 10:12

      that button picture was quite an achievement, you see ronnie has a fer of buttons which we are working on. this wall actually helped a lot, as we were able to talk about the buttons and i got a better understanding of why he has such a strong disliking of them

  10. March 28, 2014 / 16:15

    That exhibition looks so cool Vanessa – and what a sweet story. You romantic lady you xxx

    • March 29, 2014 / 10:13

      i really wanted to jump the rope and have a good poke around in the studio setting!

  11. March 28, 2014 / 21:46

    I always love hearing about people became Mr & Mrs… The exhibition isn’t bad either 😉

    • March 29, 2014 / 10:14

      whats your story? care to share?

  12. March 28, 2014 / 22:11

    Oh wow what a wonderful story, just lovely to read. The exhibition looks awesome too, we’ve always been fans here. It’s really funny you should write about this, my husband asked the other day what your blog stood for and I didn’t know. Now I do – how spooky!

    • March 29, 2014 / 10:15

      it’s weird as i just presumed people knew about the HPMcQ because it’s so normally to me! error

  13. March 28, 2014 / 22:58

    Aww the stories behind the stories! And the pictures that make the stories! Love this!

    • March 29, 2014 / 10:15

      one big story fest, yay!

  14. March 29, 2014 / 20:39

    Love this story about you and your man. Paul Smith is awesome would love to see this exhibition.

    • March 29, 2014 / 21:46

      its been extended until june, so you still have time!

  15. Pingback: hms belfastHPMcQ