LaQuan Smith / Photo: Suzette Lee
Last night at the Studio Museum of Harlem, a special conversation about fashion and art with André Leon Talley and emerging fashion designer LaQuan Smith was moderated by the museum’s Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden.
A 25-year veteran of and contributing editor to Vogue, André Leon Talley regularly pens a witty, pithy column called “Life with André." He also worked at Interview during Andy Warhol’s tenure. Talley regularly appears on television and in film and can currently be seen as a judge on the television show “America’s Next Top Model.”
LaQuan Smith has designed custom fashions for artists including Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Aubrey O’day, Amerie and more. Smith’s New York Fashion Week debut was held on February 15, 2010 and he has been featured in many media outlets including The New York Times, New York Daily News and Studio Magazine.
Both shared a wonderful view on fashion. Mr. Talley told the standing room only audience, “Fashion is HARD WORK, hard core work;” he continued to say, “true fashion insiders must do their homework, be patient, learn the business and live your dream.”
LaQuan’s 2nd fashion collection frenetic energy filled the Gramercy Room of the Peninsula Hotel as editors and buyers waited for wunderkind LaQuan Smith’s Spring/Summer 2011 show, entitled “A Storybook Path,” to begin. While a crush of photographers circled around rapper Common to get a shot, a gaggle of reporters rushed before Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley and designer and CFDA President Diane Von Furstenberg for a soundbite. The excitement generated so much heat, attendees fanned themselves with hot pink paper fans provided on the tables. As classical music began to play, a young lady wearing a blush pink corseted brocade jacket and matching frilly skirt came out, pursing gold lacquered lips and tottering atop Walter Steiger stilettos. The show had begun, and the air erupted with shouts of enthusiasm over the clothes–and the models themselves:
Exclamations of “Honey better work!” and “Ok!” could be heard as models sauntered out in a series of bust and thigh accentuating pieces seemingly inspired by the famously coquettish and fashion loving late 18th century Marie Antoinette. Brocade fabrics in champagne pink, deep burgundy, white, black, and electric blue were fashioned into cropped frilled tops and bodice dresses, perfectly fit for modern day princesses. Though dreamlike, as if cut from a storybook, the clothes were designed to titillate. To wit, an almost bare bottomed Jaslene Gonzalez elicited whoops of “Yes, girl,” as she worked a sheer mint green flapper dress with green plumes of feathers peeking out the bottom.
The shouts reached an almost fevered pitch as even more celebrity models emerged. Singer Cassie in a corseted gold and burgundy bubble hem dress; Deborah Cox in a Tiffany blue gilded number with an asymmetric train; Serena Williams, who closed the show, in a Bourdeaux red regal gown with exaggerated hips.