“For the Love of Money” by The O’Jays served as the theme song for The Apprentice. By way, in part, of the reality show, the song became emblematic of not just Wall Street but a culture obsessed with finances. Money: Who has more of it, who has none of it, where to find it.
LaQuan Smith hosted his fall 2024 show at Cipriani 25 tonight across the street from the famous “Bull of Wall Street” statue in the heart of Manhattan’s Financial District. Caviar and cocktails awaited guests as they walked in. Busta Rhymes and Babyface sat in the front row; the performed at the closing of the show. “For the Love of Money” was the opening tune, it followed the unequivocal reverberating toll of the New York Stock Exchange bell. The day of trading was officially closed, but Smith’s night was just getting started.
Smith said that he had been looking at the sartorial language of Wall Street in the 1980s. “Pinstripe really resonated with me with this concept of financial stability,” he said, explaining that he was trying to be more evocative than literal with this reference.
Financial stability has been a trending topic backstage and in the front rows this season in New York, with designers cancelling shows or announcing business restructurings or shut downs. “It’s important for me to have healthy dialogues with buyers and my customer to understand how my woman is shopping,” said Smith. “My buys increased over 80% during the pandemic, and a few seasons later they decreased but not by any reason of mine as a designer; buyers are just sitting on a lot of stock right now.” He has a point, and he’s not alone.
“The thing is that when you come to LaQuan Smith, you’re always looking for something after 6PM,” said the designer. “That gave me a way to broaden my collection with a lot of daywear separates.” He is smart to look to expand his collection into day, tapping into the other half of his existing customer’s wardrobe. His challenge will be, as he put it, “to understand who she aspires to be and merging that with the fantasy of what she needs.”
The LaQuan Smith you know remains: va-va-voom figure-hugging dresses, vertiginously cut bodysuits, and micro mini hems. There were the usual cocktail options aplenty, but for day Smith worked in some worthwhile options, keeping in mind that “this woman is always sexy.” There were pinstripe separates tailored to the millimeter, pony hair suits, leathery bodysuits, poplin shirting vertiginously scooped in the back, and some alluring and nicely draped charmeuse and chiffon dresses and separates. A couple of hip-swaddling pencil skirts nodded at Smith’s new stylist, Carine Roitfeld (“Carine is so iconic, and she’s the queen of pencil skirts!”).
There was also some fur—real—made in partnership with Saga Furs. A sense of opulence with a sprinkle of a Tom Ford-esque slickness presided over the proceedings, bar a run of glossy jersey fabrications that didn’t look as expensive as the rest of the collection. Smith’s tailoring has certainly leveled up—he cut a wide shoulder and cinched the waists of jackets and duster coats with deftly placed darts on their backs. This was also the designer’s most effective menswear lineup to date.
What is the Smith woman up to during the day? “Well, she’s got shit to do,” Smith said, “she’s in charge, she’s going to work, she’s going to take you to court,” the designer added with a laugh. Where she’s going is up to her, but what Smith wants to make sure of is that “she looks damn good” doing it. “What I want is for her to just zip up the dress and let the magic start,” he added. “Once she makes that journey to the mirror she is ready to go out. And if she doesn’t have a place to go, she will find one, because now she has the dress.”