ONE STAR, LOTS OF STRIPES.
THE MINI PAUL SMITH.
Back in 1999, a number of special, one-off Minis were created for the 40th anniversary of the creation of the very first Mini. At the time, we asked a number of iconic figures to design a unique car that best matched their style aesthetic. The legendary Paul Smith obliged with a Mini that matched his sense of simplicity, while delivering an exciting and vibrant Mini Cooper design.
The relationship between Mini and Smith began even before this famous collaboration, as he had previously used a Mini as a motif on a skirt in one of his women's fashion collections. Indeed, we’ve always been proud of the fact that he sees the car as a timeless classic.
Furthermore, this was not the only special Mini Paul Smith had designed at the time. He was – unsurprisingly – also the man behind the “Paul Smith Blue” Mini, a limited edition model. At the time, 1,800 were built of this car (300 in the UK, 1,500 in Japan), which has – surprisingly – returned to prominence recently, as it was chosen to be one of the cars converted into an electric Mini, as part of the MINI Recharged Project.
Smith has continued collaborating with MINI ever since. His latest, the MINI Strip broke down a MINI to its essentials, to create a recognizable, sustainable version of the car.
“THE CUSTOM-MADE CAR FEATURES 86 STRIPES IN 26 COLOURS, WHILE STILL MAINTAINING A HARMONIOUS AESTHETIC DESIGN.”
But for this 1999 design collaboration, Smith did something wildly different. As he is a fashion designer, it was no surprise that the main source of inspiration for Smith came from the stripes from his own 1997 spring and summer collection.
The custom-made car features 86 stripes in 26 colours, while still maintaining a harmonious aesthetic design. But the multi-colour look doesn’t end with the outside of the car, as this Mini Cooper is also quirky on the inside. It features splashes of colour in the form of lime green lining for both the glove compartment and the boot. And upon closer inspection, an attentive viewer may spot that the logos on the instrument gauges, made by British company Smiths, have also been altered to say “Paul Smith”.
The car was first presented at the Tokyo Motor Show. When supermodel Kate Moss (who also designed a car for our anniversary) was asked about the design, she succinctly described it as “very Paul Smith.” Indeed.