Unapologetic glamour is the name of the game for New York designer LaQuan Smith, who is among those leading fashion’s return to body-con dressing.
For fall, he continued to build on his reputation as a go-to for sexy, powerful clothing (WWD recently photographed Smith in front of New York City’s Museum of Sex, one of his favorite places, for a fashion week curtain raiser), deftly mixing his signature fetishy fun with classic American sportswear sophistication.
Among his brand specialties are high-sheen polyvinyl chloride pieces. Kim Kardashian wore three versions of his PVC corset top and hip cutout moto pants for her newest fragrance launch in January. Beyonce, Rihanna and other pop divas have also been supporters.
But for fall, he translated his sensibility into boardroom boss lady looks, showing a sleek navy blue PVC pencil skirt with a charcoal wool bustier and over shirt, for example, and one of his beautifully cut corset dresses with a plunge front and double strap detail in chocolate brown wool. A camel pantsuit — boxy cropped jacket and high-waisted pants — was a reminder of his tailoring chops, as was the camel wool pencil skirt he paired with a spidery red mohair bodysuit. “It’s fun to do things true to me, but with growth,” the designer said.
“I can’t gift celebs, I’m a Black-owned company, working toward carving out the idea of what Black luxury means,” he continued. “When celebs want to purchase from me, I find it supporting, and women who follow them see it, so it’s helped with exposure and retail.…But I used to get comments like, ‘Do you have to be a celeb to wear LaQuan Smith?’ No, but when a woman wears the clothes, she feels like a celebrity.”
This fall collection color palette — fire engine red, chocolate brown, camel and navy — brought to mind makeup, which would seem like something Smith is primed to do, as part of a beauty collaboration, perhaps.
Adding to the sense of luxe was a pastel mink coat, and a reversible knitted fox and wool coat, part of his first collaboration with Saga Furs.
“I’m excited about reshaping what sexy means because it has been given a bad rep,” he said of his eight-year-old brand, which is sold at Saks Fifth Avenue, The Webster, Fwrd.com and size-inclusive e-commerce player 11 Honoré. “There is something for everyone, as long as you want to celebrate the body, I’m here for you.”