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Page last updated at 09:07 GMT, Thursday, 16 December 2010
Mystery parcels puzzle fashion designer Paul Smith


Watch the trailer for 'PS Your Mystery Sender', a short film by Ben Wigley

Surprise gifts sent to Paul Smith have proved an inspiration to a Nottingham film-maker.

For the past 20 years the British fashion designer has received hundreds of mystery parcels through the post.

He said the quirky, random presents, which always arrive without a message from the sender, have been "inspirational".

"I've always had a reputation for being interested in beautiful, kitch things which I collect and use in my work," Paul Smith said.

"The joy [of the mystery parcels] is not particularly about special designs, they're just things."

What ties the gifts together is that they are never in a box and the stamps and address are placed directly on them.

The Nottingham designer said: "What's amazing is it's a completely unsung hero. It's someone doing something massively creative but no-one knows about it."

From models of film favourite E.T. to a galleon-shaped bird box, the designer said ordinary objects take on an "iconic or artistic presence".

"The [female] torso. That was funny when the postman arrived with that one - it was like 'where do I put my hands?'" the fashion designer said.

This story has inspired a short film by Nottingham film-maker Ben Wigley, to be screened in Nottingham this December.

As part of the documentary Paul Smith takes you through the mystery packages that he began receiving in the eighties.

Mr Wigley was inspired to tell the tale after reading an update on the designer's blog about a new object arriving.

Paul Smith holds up a doll of E.T. Screengrab from Ben Wigley's short film

The [female] torso. That was funny when the postman arrived with that one - it was like where do I put my hands?

Paul Smith, fashion designer

West Bridgford-based Ben, who was working on a project with the Scottish Documentary Institute, had been commissioned to produce a film about surprises.

To convince Paul to take part, the director wanted his invitation to stand out so thought: "What do surprises come in? Surprises come in cereal boxes."

Ben created an initial trailer, penned a letter on a picture of roses and sent it all in a cereal box. Paul Smith called him a few days later.

At first Ben was granted just an hour with his subject, but after countless phone calls he managed to scrape another hour with the busy designer.

Mr Wigley said he then tried pushing his luck and asked Paul Smith if he could film him riding his bike to work.

"He said yes and the interview was brilliant," the film-maker said.

Following a morning with Paul Smith that the director described as a "whirlwind", Ben was then invited to a series of events with the designer.

"He didn't have to do it. He's a really good guy," said Ben.

The short film 'PS Your Mystery Sender' is being shown in the auditorium designed by Paul Smith at Nottingham's Broadway cinema for a week from 17 December 2010.

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