From Beyoncé to Every Day, LaQuan Smith Brings Glam

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Long before LaQuan Smith began creating costumes for Beyoncé’s On the Run II tour (scantily clad pieces emblazoned with crystal) and wedging Kim into a barely-breathable latex numbers, the Queens-born fashion designer was dressing a bit more local clientele: Hasidic Jewish women from his neighboring Brooklyn communities. In fact, these modest shoppers—many of whom call upon the designer to customize evening wear for their social obligations—still make up much of his private dressing work to this very day.

The humor of dancing between below-the-belly necklines for his runway collections and three-quarter length A-lines for the real world is not lost on the designer, but he laughs that „glam“ is the connection between the two. As he tells CR: „Glam is what you come to LaQuan Smith for.“

Smith’s interest in fashion began at a young age. His grandmother, who taught him how to thread a needle in the first place, gave him his first sewing machine at the age of 12. They’d go to Walmart and purchase cheap stretch fabrics in bulk, or he would deconstruct finished pieces, like a leather jacket from his mother, to repurpose the material. „I grew up in a house with women who knew how to shop, and knew what good quality clothing looked like and felt like. So I think it’s just in my blood,“ he’s once said. These family ties—and his upbringing in Queens itself—have always been a constant inspiration for Smith, who never attended formal training yet still designs with an almost couturier like hand since founding his eponymous brand at the age of 21. His pieces—whether they are the 3-D cut-out leggings worn by Lady Gaga that first put his name on the scene or his hip-hugging slinky styles seen on the red carpet today—flatter the body just as much as they captivate, recalling the likes of Brooklyn-based Azzedine Alaïa. Indeed, Smith says one of his greatest joys his bringing his fantasies to the real world.

„Glam is what you come to LaQuan Smith for“

Fittingly, Smith’s new collaboration with online retailer ASOS does just that. Released today, the capsule was teased during his Spring/Summer 2019 runway show in New York this fall, and now, fully complete, is a milestone for the designer. In a range that has offering for both sides of the closet—easily ASOS‘ largest collaboration to date—the launch sees a series of firsts for Smith. His first line of denim („I tired to do jeans on my own two seasons ago…I was out of my league“ he jokes), his first menswear assortment (see: tartan coats, structured trousers, and graphic pullovers), and, the designer’s favorite: full-blown accessories.

„Being able to make sunglasses and hats and trunks with the LaQuan Smith logo on it was so amazing,“ Smith explains. „Oh, and shows! I’ve made my own shoes in the past, but it’s a very expensive and tedious process process. LaQuan Smith is primarily an apparel womenswear brand, so to take it a step further and create this amazing full range collection was so personally gratifying.“

Fashion-wise, the collaboration includes the staples that have made the likes of Tom Ford and Kanye West fans of Smith: off-the-shoulder skintight dresses, low-rise trousers, stripy bike shorts, and other runway renditions translated for the larger audience around us. It’s this connection itself that is particularly exciting for the designer. As he says: „Knowing that there’s so many people that aspire to wear my clothes and be a part of what I’m doing but can’t necessarily afford it, I thought ASOS was the great outlet for me to do that.

ASOS DESIGN x LaQuan Smith is available online now.

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