British designer Sir Paul Smith has been awarded France's highest honour, the Légion d'Honneur. Awarded by Sylvie Bermann, the French Ambassador to the UK, Smith now joins an elite group of recipients including legendary musicians Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan. The award is typically only given out to 10 British nationals annually.
"It is a great honour to be paying tribute today to Sir Paul Smith, a revolutionary figure in British design whose flair and audacity have left an indelible mark on French fashion," said Bermann. "He is an inspiration to a whole generation of young designers on both sides of the Channel."
Smith hosted his first runway show in Paris in 1976 and the fashion house has been showcasing his collections in the French capital each year since, most recently at the 2016 Paris Fashion Week where he unveiled the Paul Smith Fall/Winter '16 collection.
"I've had a special relationship with France for many years," said Smith. "I had my first fashion show in Paris in 1976 and since then I've had around 80 shows in the city. Outside of Paris I've got strong relationships all over the country. It's a wonderful honour to receive this accolade."