“I had balance on my mind,” wrote LaQuan Smith in the show notes for his Spring/Summer 2024 collection. The New York designer’s universe is known to sparkle, shimmer and shine; but this season, he found an equilibrium between the ultra-fine and the high-octane with a focus on what he calls “sci-fi glamour” and a more dedicated effort to define the Laquan Smith man’s wardrobe.
Inside Skylight at Essex Crossing on Monday evening, Smith hosted a power-packed runway show, where his twinkling designs met the eyes of an equally star-studded front row, filled by the likes of Saweetie, Laverne Cox, Mary J. Blige, Summer Walker and Offset. Engine-revving sounds quieted the room, as an ominous garage door opened at the end of the walkway, casting a red light down the concrete floor and marking the show’s commencement.
“This season was an opportunity to dive further into my proposition for menswear,” Smith said of the collection. “I explored the evolution of the brand’s codes, translating our signature glamour and sensuality into fresh outfitting for the modern, captivating, and unapologetic LaQuan Smith man and woman.”
The beginning looks were true LaQuan Smith: shiny, purple cropped jackets with bodysuits to match, teal dresses with similar reflections and skin-bearing silhouettes ideal for a night at one of New York’s finer clubs. It wasn’t until Look 8 that the collection’s tone shifted, with the first menswear ensemble: a sheer deep-blue polo, paired with high denim shorts and a punkish black belt. Three looks later, more men’s: this time, a light-grey jacket worn over a transparent, form-fitting top and finished with utilitarian trousers featuring multiple zippers and built-in knee pads.
Between boldly shaped skirts, intergalactic dresses and armor-like jackets with dramatic shoulders (all paired with larger-than-life jewelry from designer Austin James Smith), LaQuan tastefully interpolated his quintessential womenswear with newly-defined codes for masculine dressing. There was a metallic, silver jacket that was left open over short-shorts; that was followed by a see-through blue turtleneck and leather pants in a matching tone. The designer delivered a men’s blazer and a white button-up shirt with concealed buttons, styled with pleated denim, and on Alton Mason was the line’s hero (for menswear, at least): an opulent, silver chain top and low-waisted, baggy trousers with more pockets than one could desire.
Smith made his menswear debut last season, and he’s still fine-tuning exactly what his brand resembles in the category. His Spring 2024 offering, albeit six looks, marked a continuation of this exploration, and its cosmic inspirations propelled the result beyond men’s fashion lore. Smith’s designs are confidently his own, and, in his words, this season’s entourage is “ready for whatever the future holds.”
See LaQuan Smith’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection in the gallery above, and stay tuned to Hypebeast for more New York Fashion Week coverage.