The parallel between fast cars and high fashion is self-evident. Both modes operate in a luxury world that is sometimes unattainable, always aspirational, and downright sexy. LaQuan Smith lives in this world. But it wasn’t always like that. “Nothing was given to me on a silver platter,” Smith, 31, told ELLE. “I had hustle to get where I am today.” The self-made designer went from sneaking into New York Fashion Week to being the toast of the town. Since his debut collection in 2011, he’s slowly built his empire with a client list that leaves no celebrity stone unturned. Everyone from Beyoncé to Selena Gomez to Rihanna has taken his micro dresses and catsuits to the ‘grid. With a smoldering design aesthetic that makes prudes blush and a finesse for fabric that rivals couturiers, his talent is redefining modern luxury, ushering in a new and exciting breed of designers that NYFW is desperately lacking. Born and raised in Queens, the native New Yorker is living proof of the resiliency of the city and the type of people it propagates. His business survived the pandemic (though not without its own hardships), with hopes to recreate the magic of NYFW in its heyday. “The high energy of New York and music, fashion, hip hop, cars, and luxury and champagne and all of these fabulous things intertwining into one space,” Smith reminisced. The current season, once again presented amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic, looks a lot different from that aforementioned energy. That isn’t stopping Smith from getting a leg up with a partnership with BMW, the official automotive partner of New York Fashion Week: The Shows for the fall-winter 2021 season. In a custom content series that premieres today, February 11, the campaign features Smith drawing the innate connection between cars and clothes. We spoke to Smith on why his humble beginnings matter, designing for the unapologetically sexy, and what we can expect from his upcoming collection, here.
Laquan Smith’s last NYFW show, pre-pandemic, on February 08, 2020.
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On the past and future of NYFWI remember sneaking into fashion week in Bryant Park when I was younger having no business being there. I remember Fashion’s Night Out. It was lit, New York was on fire and that kind of energy was just so fresh and rejuvenating and inspiring. It’s important to me to revive the heyday of Alaia or Gianni Versace. Those were the sexy, exciting…