After the January that we had (one that was marked by record snowfalls and subzero temps), New York and this diva were definitely ready for a change of pace. The arrival of New York Fashion Week was definitely needed and welcomed.
Not sure why, but it feels like Fashion Week snuck up on me this season– it maybe because I have been crying over the snow that’s been falling every 3 or 4 days (not making that up) since December and the threat of snow that caused me to postpone my much needed tropical vacation. Whatever the reason, I’m just happy that it’s finally here.
With official dates running from February 10th through the 17th, the fashion season is also packed with pre- and post events that end up making Fashion Week almost the whole month long. For me, this fashion season began last night with two fabulous events that had me racing between SoHo and midtown.
EVENT #1: THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY’S TeenLIVE EVENT FEATURING
DESIGNER LAQUAN SMITH
The TeenLive event drew a full house of aspiring designers, stylists, fashion enthusiasts, press and those curious about the industry to hear an insider’s view of making it in fashion.
The TeenLIVE events at The New York Public Library feature thought-provoking conversations, real debates, and exciting spectacular performances with your favorite authors, artists, filmmakers, musicians, fashionistas, and more. These events reach teens culturally, artistically, inspirationally, technologically, and more with the biggest, best, and the brightest stars. The programs will spotlight current cultural trends and important mainstays that inform the lives of today’s teens. Last night’s event, in honor of Fashion Week, featured emerging designer LaQuan Smith.
Utilizing a format similar to “Insider the Actor’s Studio,” 22-year old design ingénue LaQuan Smith shared his experience on his entry and subsequent rise in the fashion industry.
With his unique pieces being seen on some of entertainment’s hottest celebrities including Dakota Fanning, Rhianna, Amber Riley (Glee), Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, Smith is quickly establishing himself as a designer to watch. His talents have already graced the pages of some of the top fashion and lifestyle publications including Essence and the New York Times.
LaQuan talked about his inspirations and motivations behind his lines LQS (his younger more contemporary line) and LaQuan Smith (his more elite line). A lover of color, construction and femininity, LaQuan draws inspiration from 90’s fashion and pop culture– including the ultra femme yet playful stylings of Cher Horowitz (played by Alicia Silverstone) in Clueless. He also drew heavy inspiration from great designers including the late, forward thinking Gianni Versace and the classic fashions of Ralph Lauren. Life experiences and travel also find their ways into the designs of LaQuan Smith.
Garnering fans from across the country and around the world, LaQuan Smith has been creating a buzz within the fashion world. His participating in BET’s Rip the Runway (his pieces were worn by host Nicki Minaj) sparked a request to be a part of the “fashion meets music” spectacular as well as spawned an invitation by famed lifestyle publication Arise Magazine. Smith has been asked by Arise to participate in their upcoming fashion showcase in Lagos, Nigeria this March.
When asked why he wanted to participate in the library’s TeenLIVE event, LaQuan said “fashion and art have always been my passion, from the artistic expression of sketching to the manifestation of the garments. So, I’m excited to share my love story between fashion and I with the youth, to inspire them with my many triumphs and tribulations.
LaQuan’s best advice to the audience was to learn and live the craft. He tells would be designers to pursue an education in fashion and the arts and to get involved in the fashion community. LaQuan emphasizes networking is key and always practice and study your craft. He also stressed building a strong foundation. Something he is putting into practice as well.
With a focus on building his brand and business, LaQuan’s collections aren’t currently available on a mass scale as yet. Currently, those wishing to sport his chic designs can order then on an on demand basis via his website at www.laquansmith.com. One thing that really caught my attention was LaQuan’s willingness to celebrate the female form of all types of shapes and figures. He stated that when the line becomes available in stores, he wants to be available for the curvier woman up to size 16.
His aspirations for the future? He’d love to collaborate with Ralph Lauren and create a show collection for Christian Louboutin as well as dress young Hollywood’s style icons including Blake Lively, Kiera Knightly and more.
Did you miss last night’s presentation? No worries, you can watch the stream of the event on Fora TV at http://fora.tv/live/nypl/live_nypl_laquan_smith.
EVENT #2: THE LAUNCH OF PAMPERED ROYALE BY MALIK SO CHIC
After meeting up with Pink Suede stylist Shatonia Amee (who also attended the TeenLIVE event), we raced uptown to 220 Atelier for the launch of Pampered Royale by socialite Malik So Chic. Featured in the CW’s High Society, Malik debuted a capsule collection of tricked out totes of various shapes and sizes. The event was a who’s who of fashion, entertainment and New York’s society.