Luc Goidadin’s seventysomething mother was visiting from Burgundy. The two are very close, he claims, and yet here he was, socializing in the vacuous, dripping-with-gilt tearoom at the Corinthia, while she hung at his home in central London. “Oh, Mum’s doing just fine,” said Goidadin, flashing an amused grin that accompanies many of his remarks. It was raining, after all, and a perfectly good day for anyone to putter around the grand old Victorian that he shares with his partner, the literary agent Nick Quinn.

And besides, we were here to talk about the most thrilling development in Goidadin’s professional life: he’s now running the show, creatively speaking, at Smythson of Bond Street. “Positive vibes from the beginning,” he said of the brand, which dates back to 1887, when Frank Smythson opened a small storefront at 133 New Bond Street. As Smythson described it then, the store specialized in “stationery and fancy articles of a high-class character.”