Almost 20 years ago, as an indie start-up, Lafayette 148 debunked the tradition of Seventh Avenue showroom and headed downtown to the address that bears its name. Today it’s clear the label is a go-to line for that busy, well-traveled woman with better things to do than shop. With the anniversary in mind, design director Emily Smith looked to the quintessential New York woman and what she loves and needs. Also in a nod to New York, a series of aerial photos of the city became subtle references in the clothes: a fade-to-gray ombré pattern on a sweater that recalled a building hidden in the fog or suede paillettes with a touch of sparkle on a tank representing pedestrian-crowded streets.
The bulk of the line’s delivery is based on buy-now-wear-now — a welcome approach for season-confused sales floors. Suedes and knits were key elements, which played out best in a high-waisted red belted skirt with thigh-high slits paired with a red intarsia knit sweater or a rich taupe suede trench worn with soft cream signature flare pants with piping in double-faced wool that feels richer than their price tag. These weren’t game-changing designs, but they offered plenty of chic for that real woman looking for effortless style.