“As we were diving into our history, we found out that our original building, 148 Lafayette Street, was originally a printing press, so it got me started on this idea of paper and what that means. It takes you through the journey of paper and what you can do with that fabric,” Lafayette148 creative director Emily Smith said during a preview appointment of the brand’s spring collection.
Smith’s ideas translated exceptionally well through the season’s ready-to-wear. Structured pants had hard, folded-paper creases, as did softer, voluminous accordion-pleated skirts and dresses that riffed on origami and Isamu Noguchi’s iconic paper structures. A crinkled “brown paper bag” beige trenchcoat, leather plissé set and perfectly oversize blue and white striped button-down offered a sophisticated take on crumpled paper; an artisanal hand-crochet knit jacket alluded to torn paper shreds with its long fringes, and lightweight, sheer organza suiting (including a pant with built-in silk short) played on the idea of papier de sole (i.e. tissue paper). The designer’s palette, too, was derived from the material, with a blend of soft neutrals (white, manilla, light brown) and construction paper yellow, baby pink, blue and green.
“It’s the cool girl in the city — not too precious or done up, there’s a realness to it. That downtown vibe with the uptown sophistication that happened in the ‘90s with the emergence of modern luxury,” Smith said of the collection’s look book imagery, shot on the New York City streets. The idea of SoHo in the ‘90s was at the forefront of not only the images but also the subtle, modern minimalist look of the collection.
“And of course, the master of paper arts is Matisse, so we took a nod to him and actually did some tearing up of paper with this idea of construction paper for the prints,” Smith said of the collection’s soft prints and paper-thin, layered silk shift dresses. The result was timeless, clean and effortlessly modern.