“LaQuan!” exclaimed Julia Fox in her familiar tone, embracing LaQuan Smith.
The headline-making actress, who opened his fall 2022 show, stood out in a barely there fire-red bandeau cropped top and maxiskirt.
“It’s really about accentuating her strengths,” Smith said of dressing today’s woman.
“Some women love their arms,” he went on. “Some women love their legs. Some women love their back, their waist. I’m all about accentuating the female form, carving out the body, celebrating the form and making women feel ultimately empowered and sexy. That’s what it’s about.”
He was inside Olivetta in West Hollywood, celebrating the launch of LaQuan Smith at Net-a-porter.
Drinks flowed during the cocktail party, which was followed by a dinner. Guests included Ava DuVernay, Tiffany Haddish, Ty Hunter, Tinashe, January Jones, Jasmine Sanders, Larsen Thompson, Law Roach, Winnie Harlow and Christine Chiu. Most of the women were in looks by the New York-based designer.
Chiu, star of Netflix’s “Bling Empire,” opted for a strapless leather bustier and matching miniskirt.
“Breathing optional,” she joked of the skintight ensemble. “I was able to zip it up, so it was a go.”
A regular client at couture week, front row at the major shows, Chiu nearly bought out LaQuan’s entire last collection.
“You’ll see them all over ‘Bling Empire,’” she said of the reality show’s second season — soon expected to premiere.
She hopes viewers will see another side of her this year, “as a mom and a wife, and some of the problems that I go through, too,” she said. “There are definitely times when I wore really casual, normal clothing, didn’t wear any makeup. That’s a more authentic side of me. I don’t prance around town 24/7 in couture. I’m a jeans, sweats type of girl most of the time. But yes, I like to get dressed up like this. It’s balance.”
And tonight, it was about the glam.
“I don’t think anyone has nailed sexy, edgy, chic and elegant and extremely flattering like him,” she continued of Smith. “Have I mentioned sexy? When you put on LaQuan’s clothes, you feel like you own the room.”
Alison Loehnis, president of luxury and fashion at Net-a-porter, shared similar sentiments.
“When we met, I remember asking LaQuan, ‘OK, describe your woman. Who is your woman?’ and he said, ‘My woman is the woman who wants to be the center of attention,’” said Loehnis. “I loved that. It was so crystal clear. Not every designer would say that.”
The two met when Loehnis was his mentor following his CFDA win.
“I really didn’t know what to expect throughout the mentorship program,” said Smith. “Alison really was just so gracious with extending her team and her knowledge.…Through that program, we formed a friendship. And then of course, she picked up the collection. Having that retail support is something that is just so near and dear to my heart, because, for me, I’ve always wanted to have retail partners that I can grow with.”
The Net-a-porter buyers had had an eye on Smith for a long time, said Loehnis: “My teams were already preparing to buy the collection.”
Why celebrate the occasion in L.A.? It was a no-brainer, according to the executive.
“California is super important, and L.A. is the biggest for us in California,” she revealed. “There’s no better time to be in L.A.”
It wasn’t just any week in town; it was Oscar week.
“It’s exciting,” Smith said of the buzz in the city. “It’s always a dream of mine to dress someone at the Oscars someday. We’re not there yet. Someday.”