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Laquan Smith - Presentation - Spring 2016 New York Fashion Week

Source: Vivien Killilea / Getty

Kim Kardashian. Beyoncé. Lady Gaga. Rihanna. What do these pop stars all have in common? The fashion mixologist LaQuan Smith.

Designing since age 4 and defying industry odds, LaQuan Smith has developed into a coveted high fashion designer. Graciously, he offered full backstage access and even granted a short interview, get this: 15 minutes before his presentation began.  The show was like a chic afternoon rooftop social and I got a glimpse of LaQuan Smith the man, the brand, and the grand clothing.

September 13th, 2015. It’s 1:30PM – an hour before the show is to start. My team and I walk through the Refinery Hotel to a busy bustle abound. Laquan’s PR Manager, Erica, escorts us around the backstage area to hair and makeup, warmly greeting us. We head to another large room, where models are excitedly getting dressed. She leaves us to work. Backstage is diverse, with Japanese, English, and more being spoken as a clean, natural makeup was applied. Hair products, sponsored by Shea Moisture, were used to create beautiful styles on the models. I make my way back where models are getting dressed and see glitzy tweed – I walk around and look at statuesque models donning Laquan’s beautiful garments. Through out the chaos – “Are you dressed?”; “20 minutes till start!” and excitement, my eyes fixate on Laquan, in an opal organza top, calmly, walking through the crowd, making last minute adjustments on models. I overhear him thanking an intern.

This was my first official introduction to the designer I have been following since I discovered him when he was 23. In Forbes 30 under 30 by age 26, a designer that dresses the stars practically on the daily, he was refreshingly, down to earth, humble, and kind.

Laquan Smith SS16 NYFW Presentation

Fashion & Beauty Editor-at-Large, Danielle James, backstage at LaQuan Smith SS16.

He greets me warmly with a hug as if he has known me for years. We sit down on the couch and begin talking.  I ask him the inspiration for his line, mentioning the stark differences in all the materials. He excitedly responds, “I fell in love with these tweeds that I sourced in Italy, and absolutely couldn’t take my eyes and hands off them. I wanted to do something that was really young, modern, and fresh!” Before I could interject, he continues, “When you think of tweed, you think of classic, you think of timeless, you think of an investment. When you think of denim, you think: utilitarian, casual…sort of chic and daytime. I wanted to combine them both – I love the juxtaposition.” …and he successfully did so.

This collection is modern chic. Tweed ball caps, a denim structured, peplum midi skirt that I can definitely see Beyoncé rocking, paired with a tweed bralet. An organza A-line dress that will look perfect at either a winter party or a spring gala.

As a NYC woman, I’d wear one of his pieces straight off the subway to a fabulous fashion event. That turquoise one piece in the LaQuan Smith gallery? Coming to Danielle’s Closet soon.

The presentation was modern chic. Models stand on short podiums, proudly wearing his designs, as Christina Milian, celebrity stylists, and more, plot their next statement outfits. I saw several women at the event wearing LaQuan Smith – and size 2 to 12, his designs flattered multiple shapes and sizes. One thing that is clear is how well-loved that LaQuan is. From his mother, an intern, to Beyoncé’s stylist, Ty Hunter,  everyone talked about how humble he is, how happy they were for him, how much he deserves everything that has come and will come to him.


Shop Laquan Smith here.

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter for behind the scenes @theislandiva.

See exclusive interviews with individuals from the Laquan Smith show on my Periscope @DanielleJames.

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