After incredibly hard work and an inspirational storybook rise to success, designer LaQuan Smith has quickly become a favorite of some of the most famous women on the planet, including Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and the Kardashian/Jenner family. (Kim Kardashian pretty much put Smith's name on the map after wearing a look from his spring 2015 collection — a see-through lace dress over a bra and granny panties — to a Cannes party in July.)
The designer stayed consistent with his spring 2016 collection, featuring elements of sheer, deep plunge, cropped and abbreviated silhouettes — but with a twist. "It's a fun, refined approach to classic tailoring. It's modern and it's edgy and it's experimental," explained the 27-year-old. "I found these awesome, incredible, sick tweeds from Italy and I wanted to experiment with them." This is the first season he's using tweeds and he's mixing them with a more laid-back (and ubiquitous) denim. "I just wanted to show that tweed can be worn in a very young, modern way," he said. "When I think of tweed, I think classic, traditional Upper East Side — kind of bougie. Then when I think of denim, I think utilitarian, casual and classic, so I like the juxtaposition."
Smith's youthful reimagining of the textural material includes rose gold shimmery weave and Kardashian-esque silhouettes: macramé-trimmed hot pants, playful baseball caps, a bustier bralette (styled with a high-waisted, obi-belt-tied and peplum denim midi-skirt) and boxy Chanel-reminiscent convertible jackets with zip-off sleeves. "I wanted to be so obnoxious with it 'cause I'm just inspired by music," Smith said. "I'm inspired by pop culture and, as we know, all those things are very in your face." Although, the less adventurous (but definitely not boring) can try the delicate silver silk cami tucked into high-waisted flared trousers. "I could see Kylie [Jenner] in almost every tweed suit there is right now," he laughed.
Even though Smith has plenty of muses to choose from for spring, he didn't look to one woman. (Or maybe it was just too hard to choose from his many impressive devotées.) "The muses for me are the women that we dress today," he said. "It's the Kim Kardashians. It's the Beyoncés, the Jennifer Lopezes. It's not just the celebrities, but the idealistic women that's really committed to living that lifestyle and running around in a floor-length tweed coat with a denim border — that's the woman that I'm inspired by. She is not afraid of having fun. She is not afraid of being bold and I appreciate that more than anything else."
Speaking of, Kardashian was just snapped by the paps in New York turning a LaQuan Smith mustard yellow turtleneck sweater dress into a chic and (relatively) conservative maternity look. "I thought she wore it really beautifully," Smith said. "It wasn't too forced. She is pregnant and she's a mom and she's very influenced by fashion, I'm sure. So I think for a LaQuan Smith rib-knit dress to be an option to just do her day-to-day and run around... that's kind of awesome."
He did go on to point out that Kardashian and her sisters — Kendall Jenner wore his wardrobe malfunction-defying maxi-skirt to Kylie's birthday party — aren't paid to wear his pieces. They do so because it fits their style and preferences. But, all of those moments caught on camera "definitely translate into sales, which is important," he admitted. While Smith couldn't exactly quantify the Kardashian/Jenner Effect on his bottom line, he did say he's observed an increase in sales and traffic on his e-commerce site. As for the more influential celebrities and A-listers that he'd love to see snapped in his designs?
"I would love to dress Michelle Obama," he said. "I would love to dress Amal Clooney, Kerry Washington, Blake Lively and Halle Berry. I want to get more into the actresses." Although, Smith might want to add a few inches to the tweed skirt suit (or swap out the booty shorts for custom trousers) when it comes to the FLOTUS.
Click through below to see more from the LaQuan Smith spring 2016 presentation at the Refinery Hotel.