Today’s recipient needs little introduction. Most of you will have instantly recognised the image above and will have, at one point or another, held a bag or a gift box adorned by this iconic pinstriped barcode with its trademark rainbow of multifarious colours that is universally associated with the signature logo of …

Paul Smith‘s illustrious career and exceptional impact on the world of fashion and retail is the subject of a much-anticipated exhibition this winter
at the brilliant Design Museum in London.

“Hello, my name is Paul Smith” is a major retrospective opening on Friday until March 9, 2014 that will give a comprehensive insight into the five decades of the British designer and retailer’s world, influences, achievements and working methods.

Due to the huge popularity and influence of the designer (his empire is represented in 72 countries), the exhibition is likely to appeal to a broad audience and break visitor figure records – and even the Design Museum’s own records as it already celebrated the designer in 2001 with its ‘True Brit” exhibition.

The rich visual experience curated by Donna Loveday (she of the museum’s hugely successful Christian Louboutin show last year) will take the shape of a long corridor and will chart the designer, retailer and businessman’s career throughout various media (music, photographs, artifacts, projections, films, soundbites) and approaches such as these:

a display of Sir Paul’ Smith’s daring sartorial creations from collections selected by the designer himself dating back to his first show in Paris in 1976 up to today
(the company shows an impressive fourteen different collections every year), personal archives, hand-drawn sketches and other inspirational elements that make Paul Smith’s mind tick and creativity flow, a reconstruction of Smith’s first humble 1970 shop in Nottingham famously measuring three metres square, a makeshift version of his current studio and a room dedicated to the paraphernalia he’s received from his adoring fans throughout the years, most probably from Japan where his fan base is huge.

Another area will also be devoted to his architect wife Pauline whom has had a huge influence on his work, another one will showcase the unique design behind each of his stores accompanied by selection of jewellery, books, artworks, antiques, objets and curiosités that typically complement the clothes, and of course his great, whimsical collaborations ranging from cars (Rover’s Mini), cameras (Leica) and rugs (The Rug Company) to water bottles (Evian) and bicycles (Rapha) – Smith aspired to a be a professional cyclist until a road accident crushed his dreams when he was fifteen – and a special feature giving the visitors a glimpse into the brand’s future projects.

From his impeccably smart and tailored menswear and womenswear, his inventive approach to fabric, colour and pattern to his principles of traditional craftsmanship of tailoring and techniques with a contemporary edge, and his ‘English eccentric’ twist and Brit-wit style,  A-Gent of Style has been a huge admirer of Sir Paul Smith and looks forward to entering this world of “creation, inspiration, collaboration, wit and beauty” that epitomises the man behind one of the most quintessential British labels and leading fashion brands in the world.

Paul Smith stores – interiors and exteriors

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Paul Smith Spring/Summer 2014 collection

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Paul Smith objets and collaborations

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A Channel 4 interview

A BBC interview

During the run of the exhibition, the Design Museum will be hosting a series of exciting events such as Paul Smith Instagram Takeover, Live Twitter Q&A with Paul Smith and Sophie Hicks on Designing for Paul Smith.

A book “Hello, My Name is Paul Smith” published by Rizzoli will be published to coincide with the exhibition





Merveilleuse: marvellous, eccentric and elegant woman”

Ladies (and some gentle-men), if it is a new sybaritic experience you are after this autumn, look no more. Ladurée, the internationally famous French luxury patisserie renowned for its macarons, has extended its beauty range to another level of blissful vanity and created Les Merveilleuses Ladurée.

Last autumn, before launching Les Marquis de Ladurée (a line of gourmet chocolate-only delicacies that A-Gent of Style was ‘forced’ to review from Paris last spring from their boutique), Les Merveilleuses Ladurée was created and opened their first stores in Japan only; the range contained liquid foundation, lip colour, and 20 different blushes in the form of cameos inspired by the colours of their macaroons. Europe has now followed suit (no store or retailer in London yet) and soon the US will too. Their new extended collection now includes lipsticks, brushes, foundations, cream and powder blushes and powders which come in white-and-gold or two-toned purple containers resembling Fabergé eggs or egg cups, vintage hatboxes and more. The powder compacts even come with lace sifters and the fluffiest powder puffs. Trust Ladurée to come up trumps once again with ravishing feminine packaging imbued with pastel colours and delicate, elaborate patterns, all evocative of Romanticism and the Rococo movement.




“What is really beautiful can intrinsically enchant women by exciting their five senses in an overwhelming manner”Ladurée professes.

Les Merveilleuses de Ladurée was inspired by Les Merveilleuses of 18th C France, who were known for their extravagant, decadent behaviour and fashion styles inspired by the ancient Greek and Romans. Which made me think incidentally about Glenn Close and her wonderfully evil character La Marquise de Merteuil in Stephen Frears’s 1988 movie Dangerous Liaisons ( itself adapted from the French classic novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos) who would have undoubtedly worn Les Merveilleuses de Ladurée.

Ladurée developed a makeup line that combined beauty with quality.
The line places a great emphasis on blushes with three different formulas, as during the age of Les Merveilleuses, blushing the cheeks was the main means of playing up one’s feminine allure. What Les Merveilleuses valued the most is the whole expression of the face and believe that the most important part for expression is the cheek area. In 18th C France, cheek colors that determine the whole expression of the face were the only representational art noble women were allowed to use on their faces to make them look more attractive. An absurd and frightening proclamation no doubt for any TOWIE character or fan.

These new dainties look as delectable as the edible morsels Ladurée excels at making. One could almost imagine Marie-Antoinette hiss: “Let them eat…blushers!”

– thank you to Identité Book for their images –

Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé


Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé is a brilliant chocolate company based that was created in 2004 in Budapest (Rózsavölgyi meansRose Valley’, where the business startedby Zsolt Szabad and his wife, Katalin Csiszar, who source their cocoa beans directly from the growers in Venezuela. A-Gent of Style discovered them a few weeks ago in his favourite corner shop (Selfridges), Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé‘s sole retailer in the UK. Once again, it is the beautiful packaging and graphics that grabbed A-Gent: patterns taken from old archives and documents, or specially created designs with charming, quirky animals and foliage, bas-relief motifs ‘gaufraged’ on the chocolate bars (most of them are actually square) redolent of heraldic designs or crests, and a cute sticker in shocking pink representing a heart with legs, arms and a hat, all attributed to Csiszar’s artistic flair (she has degrees in animation and illustration).

But it isn’t just the exteriors that are scrumptious. Once the ravishing packaging is unwrapped (ripped apart in A-Gent‘s case), the world of Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé reveals and offers a wide variety of delicacies from single chocolate bars for purists to wildly experimental types for the daredevil pleasure-seekers like moi.
Currently, they produce eight different single-origin tablets, more than 40 bonbons, 20 seasoned tablets, truffles, dragées, and cacao beans with flavours ranging from Caramelised Lavender with Star Anise, Cardamom, Black Sesame Seeds, Hot Paprika, Hazelnuts with Ginger, and Pistachio Gianduja 77% to name but a few. They also produce some quirky delicacies like Rusty Chocolate Tools (wrenches, pliers, clipping pliers, padlocks, old keys, horse-shoes…), a salami-shaped Off the Hook chocolate block and Chocolate Statues.

Their tablets were awarded Silver and Bronze medals in the 2011 Academy of Chocolate Awards (London) in the “Bean-to-Bar Best Dark Bar” main category.

The award-winning roasted olives chocolate bar made with Trincheras chocolate, toasted olives, bread and a little hint of olive oil was tried and tested as soon as A-Gent of Style left the store and was engulfed by the time the lights at the pedestrian crossing turned green; the flavours are still lingering. There is also a Lavender Hot Chocolate cone waiting in the kitchen cupboard at home that is screaming to be opened and turned into drinking chocolate. From tomorrow, the temperatures in London will be dropping so that will be A-Gent’s excuse to pour himself a delicious cup of very special coco. 

Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé originality, sensational flavour combinations, meticulous attention to detail and careful provenance of ingredients make this
‘new-kid-on-the-block’ a top new contender amongst the big fish of the world chocolatiers. Happy savouring!


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