LaQuan Smith was born in Queens, New York on August 30, 1988. An only child, Smith spent his early years instructed by his grandmother who instilled a passion and skill for sewing and pattern making. Smith cultivated this craft throughout his teenage years and by 2007, the 19-year-old wonder kid started his fashion career in earnest. To that end, he apprenticed simultaneously with Blackbook Magazine and famed stylist, Elizabeth Sulcer. For an aspiring designer, the experience was a seminal one solidifying Smith’s penchant for strong, sexy, separates. He applied this aesthetic to his first capsule collection a selection of gilded separates and accessories. His distinctive work sparked interest among fashion icons and risk takers including Rihanna and Lady Gaga, both of whom were early supporters of the gifted designer.
Smith’s work also intrigued Vogue Magazine, whose Editor at Large, Andre Leon Talley selected Smith as his mentee. Harnessing the momentum of these experiences Smith formally debuted his first collection in the Spring of 2010. Held at the Society of Illustrators Upper East Side headquarters in New York City, the event attracted the industry’s elite.
On the runway, celebrities like Serena Williams modeled in the designer’s collections while off the runway, Diane Von Furstenberg and Vogue’s Alexandra Kotur amongst others watched on. It was an auspicious start for Smith’s eponymous label.
Since its formal debut in 2010 the brand has gained acclaim for its endless archive of distinctive garments and details which have been often imitated by established and emerging design houses.
Chief among these are the Gilded Stocking, popularized by Lady Gaga and Rhianna and the Nova Poodle Skirt made famous by Ariana Grande.
Smith’s signature style has found a devoted following amongst Hollywood AListers such a Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian each of whom have selected the brand on and off the red carpet. In addition to his robust celebrity clientele, Smith has cultivated an equally dynamic private order clientele which spans the globe from Lagos to London. Smith’s singular aesthetic has also been tapped by world recognized brands including Heineken and Chicago’s famed Joffrey Ballet, all of whom have commissioned custom editions of Smith’s designs.
LaQuan Smith, and his eponymous label, are headquartered in Queens, New York and deliver globally.
Photographer: Tiff Pemberton
In the picture: LaQuan Smith
Published: NYC 2014