Crafty, creative and cool with Quentin Jones

November 20, 2015

Our first foray into an artistic collaboration with Quentin Jones came a couple of years ago when Quentin created a series of portraits composed of the celebrated characters that have carried Panama diaries. This year we have joined forces again with a bit more of a festive approach.

Step into Wonderland…

Shot using her iconic stop-motion animation technique, Quentin has brought to life our collections and seasonal colours into something altogether magical. Transforming herself into the character of a French harlequin clown, Quentin handcrafted paper masks from our signature Nile Blue paper to illustrate her whimsical scenes.


“I love their skull caps, and simple graphic makeup. Lucy Burt worked with me to create the characters you see in the film. I particularly love the last character of the film, which has line drawing facepaint.”



Her surrealist collages and graphic vignettes slowly reveal the letters that spell out Smythson. An intricate interplay of gifts, merry music and artistic storytelling, every time we watch ‘Wonderland’ we discover some new detail hidden within the scenes by Quentin’s clever artistry.

“It all connects back to that sense of playfulness and amazement of childhood. And I think Christmas is most evocative when viewed through the eyes of a child, so it was an exciting angle to think of a Christmas film from.”


And if that was not festive enough, Quentin has also designed a series of Christmas cards featuring her unique combination of surrealist photomontage and painterly brush strokes. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Hannah Höch and John Stezake, her aesthetic is decidedly modern and her cards are a playful take on traditional festival symbols and salutations.

“I wanted to create something that would make people smile, feel festive, while still approaching it like I would any illustration or piece of art.”



Guest Editor: DisneyRollerGirl on Diaries

November 12, 2015



Why keep a diary? You’d think that with the supposed ease and sharability of Google calendar notifications, the paper diary would be all but obsolete. But no. In fact, it’s the opposite; a personal Smythson diary is a private keepsake that means so much more than merely noting meetings and appointments. For me, it’s part journal, part planner, where I can chart my year’s journey of professional exploits, family gatherings, personal goals, ideas, dream, frustrations and pleasures.


Of course, for this it helps if said diary is a decent size. Take the special edition Mara, a new variety of the popular Soho diary in elegant midnight blue. Its dimensions make it ideal for both desk and handbag and importantly, its layout offers a week to view on one side with a blank to-do page opposite.

I like the idea of using the to-do pages not just for weekly reminders, but fabulously fanciful ambitions. Because a diary for me also serves as a symbol of eternal possibility. Committing an idea or date to paper is a positive statement of intent; a call to action that spurs you to make that all-important move. And it can even be a form of creative visualization. Forget ‘The Secret’, my recommendation is to write (or draw!) the outcome that you desire. It’s the best way to imagine it in detail.

And then there’s the best part of keeping a diary. Looking back at the end of it all and reviewing the notes, photos, cuttings, to-dos, small triumphs achieved and grand projects that maybe didn’t quite reach fruition. And that’s fine. Because there’s always next year…


This post was written by Navaz Batliwalla from Navaz uses our special edition Midnight Mara Diary.


Your Party Season Survival Guide

November 6, 2015

It is time to don your top hat, dust off your dancing shoes and prepare yourself for copious amounts of champagne; the season of soirees is upon us. Your calendar is about to become overloaded with cocktail parties, dinner invitations, work drinks and social occasions of every sort. Whether you are the consummate host or the grateful guest, to make it through the season unscathed we have compiled a few tips to avoid those festive faux pas, a social survival guide for the party season if you will…


Decoding the Dress Code

With so many events to attend it is important to have your wardrobe suitably stocked, and yes gentlemen we are speaking to you as well. A glance at your invitation will often set the tone for the evening. White tie, black tie, smart casual; what does it all mean?

For a full list of attire from buttons to bootlaces, we suggest consulting your handy Debrett’s guide; however, here are the basics:


White Tie – Gentleman, think tails, white waistcoats and white ties (naturally). Ladies, this is an occasion of the most glamorous sort so prepare your finest jewels and full-length gown and an exotic evening bag.

Black Tie – Pull out your dinner jacket, polish your shoes and practice your bow-tying skills. Despite what the name suggests, ladies you do not need not wear black (bad luck gentlemen), a smart cocktail dress and statement clutch bag will do.


Smart Casual – The most misleading of all dress codes…A jacket or blazer is considered appropriate, but the good news is that a tie is optional. The key is to look suave, but not as if you just stepped out of the boardroom. Denim lovers need not fear, as jeans, smart jeans, are also included within the realms of ‘smart casual’ attire. The same rules apply for women so channel your inner Parisian and think elegant yet effortless.


Being a Gracious Guest

We find that nothing starts off a night on the right foot quite like a present for your host. This need not be the time for grand gestures, but a little gift for the home goes a long way. One thing we have learned (and this may shock you) is that cut flowers are not generally considered an ideal choice as it gives your host the job of hunting for a vase…

Stage two of being a gracious guest will hopefully come as less of a surprise, the thank you note. Whether you compliment the food, the host, the company, the dog or the decorations, you are sure to start the New Year in their good books.


Not Getting too Merry

The best parties are always those which end with a few anecdotes and indulgence is almost a festive prerequisite; however, if Dickens is anything to go by, your Christmas actions can (and will) come back to haunt you.

To avoid the classic, clichéd blunder of getting tipsy we like to remember one simple rule. A host or waiter will refill your glass whenever it is empty; however, if you always leave a third of your glass full you can decide for yourself when it’s time for a top up so you are always in control.

Champagneand Dancing

Nietzsche once said, ‘In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.’ He may not have been referring to parties in the festive sense, but we think he still managed to capture the essence of the party season…

Images via Pinterest and