LaQuan Smith, the namesake ready-to-wear label of a 31-year-old Queens native, is known for its structured pieces, immaculate fabrics, and bold colors. Smith transformed his 11-year-old brand from 3-D leggings at the start to incredibly-crafted evening dresses and separates, earning fans in Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Beyoncé, and the Kardashians. All the while, he stayed true to his roots — manufacturing the entire collection in Long Island City, Queens, and designing for the modern woman who loves to have fun.
On Sunday, he introduced a new level of fun with his spring 2020 offering in front of famous faces (as well as aspiring ones), including singer Kehlani, Fantasia, rapper Young Guns' Young Chris and Bad Girls star Shannon Clermont. Early in the runway show, a male model wore a shirt featuring the now-iconic phrase from Big Little Lies' Laura Dern’s Renata Klein: "I will not, not be rich" and it became clear it was a theme for Smith's most cohesive runway collection to date.
It was rich in textures, short hemlines, and sexy silhouettes. There were transparent, leopard-print latex dresses with visible black thongs underneath, ten-gallon hats and Texas-size belt buckles, short shorts, and python-print pencil skirts. The denim looks and Western-themed chaps and bustiers were in collaboration with Jordache for a special capsule collection. Another shirt showed off the phrase "Laquan Smith Hoedown" with the show's date, cementing that the Yeehaw movement is here to stay. Smith's collection is adding to similar sentiments expressed by Pyer Moss and Telfar, bringing the stories of Black cowboys to the fashion forefront.
Antwaun Sargent, a writer and critic who interviewed Solange after her film When I Get Home's debut live-stream on Black Planet, made note of the rise in the ‘Black Yeehaw’ aesthetic on Twitter with a now-viral thread. Sargent tells Paper magazine: “I think what people are responding to is the fact that the Black cowboys and cowgirls have been erased from the pop imagination. This has kind-of been in the culture for a long time, but now people are celebrating it. It had been something had been purposefully erased from African-American culture.”
For Laquan Smith, it's here to stay — and sexier than ever.