LaQuan Smith Spring 2023 Ready-To-Wear

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The show began and Elsa Hosk walked out in the opening look, a purple ankle-length sequin turtleneck halter column dress—yes, that’s a lot of adjectives, I know! It was a look made for an award ceremony–or at least a really great party. Another contender was a simple column in a warm pink.

LaQuan Smith Spring 2023 Ready-To-Wear

Smith put on his spring show inside the Intrepid Sea, Space, & Air Museum on the Hudson River. The USS Intrepid was built during WWII, though the boat’s history had little to do with why Smith selected it as this show’s location. Instead, he wanted a worthy stage to follow up his recent endeavors. “I feel like I’ve just been so pressured over the last two seasons to really have a showstopper intense show,” he said backstage, referring to his spring 2022 show at the Empire State Building. “But I just really wanted to do something that brings a level of experience to the brand. When people come to a LaQuan Smith show or party, they’re leaving with an enticing, vibrant experience, so I wanted to give that exact thing.” Had it not been for a rainy weather forecast, the show would have been staged on top of the ship rather than inside of it, with the city skyline as a backdrop. This might have made more sense as a stage than the hallways full of historical navy artifacts, though with Smith’s uber-glam, party-ready frocks it was easy to imagine the setting as an edgy gala.

For spring Smith has loosened up his silhouette. “My woman is in a space where she needs air right now, it’s all about movement and fluidity,” he said in reference to the sultry and flowy sheer chiffon dresses and blouses that grounded the collection. “It’s about the female form, about sensuality and femininity, that is what we’re here to celebrate today,” he continued.

Smith is also making efforts to expand his daywear offering in a way that makes sense for his brand. His customers go to him for bodysuits, catsuits, and dresses, he said, but he’d like to build other categories. “She comes to me for evening, but I still want to give her some options for day.” In the LaQuan Smith universe daywear means separates in silk taffeta. Most compelling were a pair of iridescent cargos and a miniskirt with draped excess in lieu of a waistband. Slightly out of place were a pair of gray wool tailored trousers.

For texture, Smith looked at sequins, shearling, and vinyl. The latter, in a canary yellow, added a necessary visual jolt, though it could have been more seamlessly incorporated into the collection. A run of metal body plates (nipple piercings included) added visual interest and a sense of novelty that Smith should explore further; ditto the lucite jewelry that accompanied some looks. You sometimes hear that folks find it hard to picture who wears these clothes in real life. They’re high-octane, sexy, and niche; but based on his show guests and his client list (which includes Beyoncé), this woman exists, and she can’t get enough of LaQuan Smith.

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