LaQuan Smith knows how to throw a party; there’s no doubt about that. When you factor in the mirror walls and chic Art Deco interior of the Rainbow Room, you’ve got one heck of a swanky soirée—and this level of sophistication is evident in the designer’s fall/winter 2023 collection, too.
The show kicked off with a model performing a reimagined scene from the popular ’80s soap opera Dynasty. It was a compelling vignette, one that demonstrates a woman coming into her own with a new sense of power, and serves as a metaphor for the LaQuan Smith woman. She’s still sexy, but she’s grown up. The best part? She knows who she is.
Models, with their slicked-back hair and stiletto heels, strutted down the stairs and around the iconic venue wearing a variety of tailored pieces made for today. Structured tuxedo jackets, low-slung (but polished) trousers, mini blazer dresses, and—believe it or not—briefcases made their way across the floor, making a strong case for everyday wear. These were accompanied by plenty of body-hugging and skin-baring staples, such as bodysuits and two-piece sets, ensuring Smith’s signature sex appeal was still very much in the collection. And with a mostly neutral color palette (the only colors seen were a vibrant violet and a sky blue), it also felt like a stark contrast to his spring 2023 show, which only reinforced the fact that both he and his audience are leveling up.
The designer also took the opportunity to debut menswear, with one standout look being an all-black ensemble featuring black suiting, a sheer blouse, and a skinny scarf. These looks felt very rock ‘n’ roll and drew clear inspiration from none other than Lenny Kravitz, who recently wore a custom LaQuan Smith outfit to the CFDA Awards in November.
Perhaps it was the cocktails and caviar that started the evening—and the audience, which included the likes of Teyana Taylor, Lil Nas X, Kimora Lee Simmons, and, of course, Julia Fox—off on a high note, but there was a specific energy that pulsed through the room (I, for one, left the show with my heart racing). It could have been Smith’s voice over the music stating, “This is LaQuan Smith.” Regardless, one cannot deny it: LaQuan Smith is here.
Dale Arden Chong is the Senior Fashion Commerce Editor at ELLE.com. Previously, she was an editor at MensHealth.com and has written for Who What Wear, GLAMOUR, The Coveteur, and more. She loves fashion, food, and art, among other things—but her greatest love is K-pop idol V of BTS.