Paul Smith and Talking Heads

For autumn/winter 12 Paul Smith and Talking Heads have collaborated on a three-piece capsule collection of T-shirts.

The collaboration was a natural fit for Paul; as he says, ‘music is a big part of my life and I have always enjoyed collaborating with musicians. I’m a big fan of Talking Heads so to be given access to their archive was a real privilege for me.’
Formed in 1975 in New York City, Talking Heads avante-garde style combined elements of punk, pop, funk, world music and Americana. The members of Talking Heads were always heavily involved in the creative side of their image, tributing single and album artwork and storyboards. Paul Smith was given very rare access to the Talking Heads’ archive in New York – an extensive collection, comprising of backstage passes, photographs, storyboards, set-lists and lead vocalist David Byrne’s original artwork ( which has never been published).
Paul was keen to convey the breadth and depth of the archive in the collection. Items he discovered when leafing through boxes formed the basis of the T-shirt collection. The album cover from Remain in Light, single cover from ‘Road to Nowhere’, a sketch of David Byrne’s famous big suit, and gig passes Paul discovered in the archive have all been made into T-shirts.
Talking Heads’ artistic sensibility lent itself to an intriguing collaboration. For their album artwork, Talking Heads used visual imagery as an extension of their music. The iconic ‘Road to Nowhere’ cover is taken from a painting by influential outsider artist Howard Finster, purchased by Byrne. The Remain in Light album cover artwork was created by band members Chris and Tina.
Byrne’s sketch of the big suit was inspired by the band’s tours in Japan. The sketch and the suit itself were influenced by larger-than-life Kabuki theatre kimonos. The gig passes evoke memories of each tour, and reflect the distinctive artwork of the albums associated with the tours.
‘It is so delightful to see such a great designer’s reaction to the artwork we created in the seventies and eighties’ said the band’s keyboardist and guitarist Jerry Harrison, ‘I think the sea of floating red faces based on the Remain in Light cover was perhaps the most unexpected’.
Each T-shirt will have a swing ticket with a note from Paul about the individual T-shirt design and the inspiration behind it.
The Paul Smith Talking Heads collection is available from October in selected Paul Smith shops and online at

Posted on 16th October 2012