Designer Sir Paul Smith is the master of travelling light

Faster Thinking

A word with… Sir Paul Smith

The British fashion designer opened his first London boutique in 1979. His label has been synonymous with classic British tailoring and style ever since

Where is top of your travel bucket list?
Helsinki, because it’s one of the few places I’ve never visited. I enjoy going to new places and experiencing new things. Helsinki also has a reputation for interesting creativity, which I’m keen to learn about.

Which country has inspired you most?
Japan is an obvious contender. London is endlessly inspiring. Plus it’s so cosmopolitan – more than 300 languages are spoken here – so it’s a goldmine of cross-cultural ideas.

What are your three must-pack travel items?
I try to travel with a backpack and little else – I never put luggage in the hold. I always used to have a camera, but now my iPhone fills that purpose. I take lots of photos that inspire my work, some of which end up on my Instagram account (@paulsmithdesign). I also carry paper and a pen, as you never know when you might be inspired. Finally, a good suit. A year ago I developed what I call ‘A Suit To Travel In’. It’s made entirely of wool, plus it’s crease-resistant and breathable – ­­perfect for a flight.

Villa D'Este

A seaplane landing at the Villa D’Este on the banks of Lake Como

Which destination has surprised you most?
Uruguay. I was amazed by the number of very modern buildings there.

What kind of traveller are you?
A quick one – I’ve been known to travel through five airports in one day. From the beginning of my career, driving up and down the country visiting suppliers, to now flying all over the world visiting my shops, I’ve learnt to travel efficiently, so I seldom spend much time in one place.

Most memorable hotel stay?
I love Villa d’Este on the banks of Lake Como. The hotel has magnificent views of the lake and wonderful gardens. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a seaplane landing on the lake.

Where do you go to escape the crowds in London?
Sir John Soane’s Museum is a must for anyone visiting London – it’s full of mad, eclectic pieces collected by neoclassic architect Sir John Soane. It’s one of my favourite museums in the world.

Paul Smith shops are in Heathrow Terminals 2, 3 and 5