Had it not been for a serious crash in his teens, the fashion designer and style icon Paul Smith might have pursued a career as a racing cyclist. His sporting ambitions were abruptly cut short, and after a six-month spell in hospital he opened a small boutique in Nottingham in 1970. Today Sir Paul Smith is one of the UK’s leading designers, but he has never forgotten his love of cycling and has maintained a passion for the sport. In 2013 he was invited to design the legendary maglia rosa – the pink jersey worn by the leader of the Giro d’Italia – which was blessed by Pope Francis I and presented to the winner.
This scrapbook illustrates Paul’s favourite people, races and places in the cycling world through the romantic and beautiful images that inspired him. From his collection of cycling jerseys and his extensive library of cycling publications of the 1950s and 1960s to the inspiration he found in early heroes such as Fausto Coppi and Jacques Anquetil, his collaborations with bike-makers (Mercian, Condor, Gary Fisher and Pinarello) and his friendships with contemporary stars of the road and track, including David Millar, Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, this is a personal and highly visual journey that connects Smith’s love of cycling with his love of design.
Ultimately this is not merely a book about one man’s enthusiasm for a sport, but an insight into how the people, stories and imagery that fuel this passion have influenced one of the most successful personalities in the design world.