LaQuan Smith was in the mood to celebrate Monday night at the Rainbow Room, where the Champagne and caviar were flowing, and Julia Fox, Teyana Taylor and Kimora Lee Simmons and daughter Ming Lee lit up the front row.
“There’s been a lot of exciting things happening around the brand,” he said during a preview. “We just launched Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman for spring ’23 and Bergdorf will be featuring the collection in the windows during New York Fashion Week. My business with Nordstrom is doing really, really well.”
Like many of the younger brands at New York Fashion Week this season, Smith is growing up.
Where the designer initially grabbed headlines for NSFW catsuits and revenge dresses, now he’s confronting the reality of building a loyal customer base for his unapologetically sexy look.
Which brings us to his latest outing, which focused on sultry eveningwear but with a balance of tailoring, statement coats, men’s looks, and even a couple things his mother, sitting front row, could wear.
Smith riffed on tuxedo dressing for his boss ladies toting briefcases. And the sultry black minidress opener with asymmetric satin lapel halter was a knockout.
Cropped tuxedo jackets, high-waist cummerbund pants, sheer burnout velvet polka dot blouses and bodysuits with strategically placed satin bands, and a white tuxedo miniskirt suit were solid evening wardrobing pieces.
Harking back to the Studio 54 era, stretch suede gowns and catsuits scooped out at the sides, or with keyhole openings, looked rich and came styled with cool throwback goggle glasses.
The designer was feeling the season’s plush outerwear trend, too, showing a hooded shearling coat styled over a mic-dropping white crystal cutout monokini.
“I wanted this show to be intimate so that you could really see the craftsmanship and the quality of the clothes,” he said. “I dressed Lenny Kravitz for the CFDA awards so I tapped into my menswear element, too. You know, like she could be wearing her boyfriend’s overcoat because all of the coats are just so large and in charge.”
For his bow, Smith stripped off and threw down his own black coat to reveal a body-hugging long-sleeved lace top and flared trousers, proving he’s his brand’s own best model.
(Side note, Smith’s knack for sexy and sheer makes him primed for a high-end lingerie collab with La Perla, Agent Provacateur or Wolford.)
“What has helped me build this collection has been watching the way that my customer is shopping. It’s really incredible to see the way that women have been purchasing the clothes and not just coming to me for that one special dress anymore. They want a coat, they want a bodysuit, they want a top. They want to be able to interchange throughout the day.”
He gave them lots to choose from.