Photo by Eliesa Johnson
ON Smart: Robert Talbott shirt and pocket square, Twill by Scott Dayton tie, Bobby Jones sweater vest, Marty Mathis jacket, Uniqlo jeans, and Donald Pliner jeans.
From Hubert White to Ampersand, Smart’s impact can be felt at stores and restaurants around the Twin Cities, and nationwide. Smart designs consumer spaces, and that goes way beyond sofas and wallpaper. He creates the experience—from the spotlight that draws your eye to the display table to the front-and-center “fashion idea” that entices you into the store.“Retailers are coming to the realization that they need to create a theater setting to show product in the best way possible.” You’ll see that at the new Pumpz & Company store at Galleria, designed by Smart’s team as a “continental” showcase for designer shoes.
Smart says his fashion inspiration comes from the products he deals with on a daily basis: fabrics, carpets, paint chips. He doesn’t read GQ; he simply loves getting dressed—from the kilt he dons for formal affairs to the Donegal tweed suit that never fails to garner a compliment. “I work better when I look better. It’s a creative thing. I get joy out of it.” And then there’s the mustache, which he grew 46 years ago to hide a scar and has cultivated—with Dippity-Do special ordered from Canada—into the swirling silver signature it is today. “People used to look at me like I was an alien, but I’ve noticed in the last few years, people will stop me to say, ‘That’s a wonderful mustache.’” Proof that if you’re patient, everything becomes the fashion.
"MORE MONEY IS BEING SPENT ON OUTSTANDING STORES TODAY, JUST TO COMPETE. A RETAIL SPACE NEEDS TO TELL A STORY.
If you’re going to buy a kilt, get it where Smart did: in Edinborough, Scotland. But for just about everything else, he shops local, at Twill by Scott Dayton and Hubert White. “Fall is one of my favorite dressing periods. I love being able to layer,” says Smart, who has never been able to resist a tweed. “I can’t keep spending money on clothes, though, so I set up a rule that whenever I buy something significant, I have to give up something. Arc’s Value Village has done very well.”