Emily Smith has been homing in on Lafayette 148’s commitment to luxury and handcraft through her last two collections by paying creative homage to paper. For fall, Smith turned a page in the brand’s evolving story to center the collection around the art of books, with inspirations stemming from the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch and its rich archive of literary stories.
“We were inspired by the Brooklyn Library, which is in our own backyard. Specifically, the Central Library, which was designed by Toshiko Mori — it’s such a clean balance to her architecture, so we thought that would be such a great starting point for us. Also, because we have such a great connection with education, women and culture. At the same time, we wanted to celebrate women authors — starting with an installation of books and the collection that centers around celebrating the uniform of authors, the library itself and the books themselves,” Smith explained, surrounded by a capsule of unstuffy eveningwear and statuesque stacks of novels within the brand’s 148 Lafayette Street showroom.
The initial section of evening looks riffed on tactile inspirations seen throughout the broader ready-to-wear assortment, like a standout knitted gown with hand-stitched bookbinding-inspired intricate woven pleats, which was later echoed in the stitching on a collegiate-spirited daywear à la a cable knit jumper and with bicolor head-to-toe ribbed-knit dressing.
“We’ve got the idea of a spine of a book with hand-embroidery that celebrates the idea of book binding, which we find really relative and important to us because we started as manufacturers with this idea of celebrating handcraft and getting back to making things by hand,” Smith said.
There was also a silk georgette bias navy number with scarf-like draped neck said to be inspired by the wardrobe of Joan Didion (a repeated “writer’s uniform” theme was seen throughout); a sleek black dress pieced together with sharp panels that mirrored the wood paneling of the library itself; a black and gold lurex fil coupe cocktail number boasting the season’s “Leafed Pages” print, which was crafted stamping the side of a book; a silk organza skirt that mimicked the movement of turning pages with its draped handkerchief panels, and special, hidden quotes from Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” woven into the inside seams of garments.
Although easy and relaxed with its collegiate layering of plush jumpers and cable knits, paperweight leather and suede fashions, cocooning outerwear (including a standout reversible long-haired shearling coat) and sleek trousers, the collection’s autumnal palette (also said to be a nod to the palette of vintage novels), luxe fabrications and creative inspirations filled the lineup with rich depth.