My Name Is Prince Exhibition at The O2, London

My Name Is Prince Exhibition

AKA: the one in which I nerd out about Prince, and tell you all about an exhibition that I have very little photos from…

When Prince passed away in April 2016, it shook me to my core. Losing my hero during one of (let’s face it) the toughest years we’ve had in a long time was unexpected and I felt physically winded for months afterwards. One of the most difficult parts, I think, was knowing that I wouldn’t see him play live again – there was always the next album or concept to look forward to, which of course meant another tour to get excited about!

Even though that won’t happen now, there are still new ways to maintain that electric feeling of passion and giddiness over Prince’s work that I first felt at eleven years old. This is due to many other die-hard fans around the world and a huge presence within the music community who strive to keep his memory alive.

When I first heard about the My Name Is Prince exhibition at the O2 in London, I was in. ALL IN (*picture me pushing a mountain of poker chips into the middle of a fancy table as I say this. Purple chips of course*). I read that this special event was a celebration of every era of Prince’s music, film and other creative projects and, not only that, it would be comprised of his iconic instruments, clothes, accessories and other personal artefacts from Paisley Park.

My Name Is Prince Exhibition

I also discovered that the exhibition was being curated by the same people that put together the Elvis Graceland one that Gary and I visited a few years back, so I knew it wouldn’t be a cheap cash-in.

We booked our tickets and, on the first Saturday in December, we headed to London!

It felt strange being back at the O2, having seen Prince play the venue 3 times in the past but I had a really strong feeling that visiting the My Name is Prince exhibition was an opportunity to celebrate, not to mourn – and I was SO EXCITED to get inside and see it all.

So here’s the thing – photography was not permitted inside the exhibition and security was extremely tight (we had to give up our phones and cameras upon entry). If you know a little bit about Prince, this probably doesn’t come as much of a shock to you! But it actually made for even more fun as I hadn’t seen any spoilers online (how often can you say that?) and could have my own experience at my own pace.

My Name Is Prince Exhibition

The first part of our visit was a VIP tour of three extra rooms that were off-limits to the rest of the attendees. This was extremely memorable and gave us the chance to see some really special belongings and equipment up-close. We even got to hold one of Prince’s guitars, which was still as he left it – traces of sweat, dents from his rings and all! Ahhh! I was walking on air after that…

I loved going through the rest of the instalments afterwards, and instantly recognised outfits from my favourite music videos, as well as poring over hand-written ideas, scripts and other rare pieces. The chronological layout meant that you could follow his career from the start and see how he evolved over the decades.

I don’t want to over-share the actual content, purely because I know there are plans for this exhibition to tour (it finished up in London yesterday!) – but what I CAN promise is that there is plenty to see, and it is a must-do for any Prince fan, if you get the chance.

For our visit, I wanted to dress in theme (natch!) and our lovely friends at Truffle Shuffle came to the rescue with these awesome matching Take Me With U tees. Twinning is winning, right?! My gal Lia at Swoon Nails also hooked me up with a gorgeous purple sequinned manicure for the occasion.

My Name Is Prince Exhibition

Seeing so many legendary parts of Prince’s life and career in the one place was magical and a really amazing way to remember his talent, influence and sheer Royal Badness! It was a true celebration and I walked out of the O2 that day with new, happy memories to look back on.

Did you visit the My Name Is Prince exhibition when it was in London? Also, let me know who your rock n’ roll heroes are!

Hello My Name is Paul Smith at The Lighthouse

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Recently, I spent an afternoon at The Lighthouse on Mitchell Lane. It was one of those rare midweek afternoons, where I had a few hours on my hands and some welcome quiet time. Instead of planning a late lunch or catch up session (which would normally be my default setting!), I decided to spend the afternoon with Paul Smith. Not the REAL Paul Smith of course (though how awesome would that be?!), but rather a visit to the latest exhibition to hit The Lighthouse – Hello My Name is Paul Smith.

As well as an insight into the business of fashion design, the exhibition invites us to explore the mind and creativity of Paul Smith, who has been producing his work since the 1970s and is today one of the leading names in British fashion (and known worldwide for his playful and innovative designs). I couldn’t wait to get a peek into his world, and brought my trusty camera along with me.

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Today, I’d love to share a few of my favourite snaps from my trip to the exhibition and why I think you should pay Paul a visit…

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Hello My Name is Paul Smith starts (like any good story) at the beginning. It follows the designer from his roots, overcoming setbacks and discovering his passion for design. There’s also a look at his first ever shops (including a scale model of the 3m x 3m Nottingham shop!) and replicas of Paul Smith’s Covent Garden office and the design studio – complete with a radio belting out Rod Stewart.

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Inside Paul’s Head is one of my favourite parts of the exhibition – a powerful small space, making excellent use of sound and vision. In this installation, Paul himself explains how simple and powerful the design process can be and how ideas can truly come from anywhere. He even talks about his Instagram account and what sorts of things would inspire him to post – which I found really interesting. I love to find out what makes people look twice and decide to share an image, especially someone as creative and visual as Paul Smith!

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Something that I noticed quite quickly is how likeable Paul Smith is – he has a genuine joy for his work and a relaxed humour which made me enjoy learning more about him. His excitement for colours and textures was infectious and it was inspiring to listen to him speak in the interactive areas of the exhibition.

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A Day in the Life of a Fashion Show was another show-stopping section. While surrounded by Paul’s personal selection of pieces from his archive, a short documentary following the Paul Smith Men’s Spring Summer 2014 show in Paris is displayed on large screens, along with footage of the designer preparing for the event and talking through the design process. A balance between traditional craftsmanship and embracing new technology, it’s all about design coming from the unexpected.

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My visit ended by looking at some of Paul Smith’s most memorable collaborations with other brands and creatives, with everything from sunglasses, to limited-edition bottles of HP Sauce (for Harrods, dah-ling) and one stunning Mini from 1998. Everything was beautifully designed, with that classic pop of Paul Smith colour or pattern.

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Taking in Hello My Name is Paul Smith was the perfect way to spend my afternoon. I left grinning from ear to ear, telling everyone I spoke to for the next 24 hours (AT LEAST!) that they must check it out. And I think you should too, and here’s why: you don’t need to be a fashionista to enjoy this exhibition. Yes, it does¬†showcase the work of a one of the fashion industry’s key players, but it is also a celebration of colour, joy and creativity. With the overall mantra of ‘everyday is a new beginning’ – it simply oozes positivity. And who could say no to that? You can catch the exhibition until 20th March.

Find out more about Hello My Name is Paul Smith at The Lighthouse, opening times and tickets here!

Will you be saying hello to Paul Smith? What is your favourite way to spend an afternoon by yourself?

Love, Signature