New York is known as the Empire State, and its city of the same name is home to one of the most—if not the most—famous building in the country, the Empire State Building. But surprisingly, independent designer LaQuan Smith is the first designer ever to host a fashion show at the historic landmark.
Though New York Fashion Week has understandably been scaling back and down since the onset of the pandemic, Smith said, “not me, honey,” and booked the Empire State’s iconic rooftop for the venue of his Spring/Summer 2022 runway presentation. The show will debut tonight and will reportedly reflect the incredible growth of both Smith and his eponymous, always sexy label. Having been in the industry for almost a decade, this show is “celebrating the revival of fashion, celebrating live runway shows again and celebrating the vibrancy of New York City as we know it,” Smith tells Vogue Business.
Smith was one of the 10 finalists of this year’s CFDA Fashion Fund and one of 12 members added to the CFDA’s roster alongside Christopher John Rogers on September 8. He got his start designing evening wear and soon moved towards expanding to other categories such as a plus-size collection with 11 Honoré, swimwear, an affordable line at ASOS and Revolve, as well as day-to-night collections. He even added 15 stockers including Browns, Saks and Nordstrom.
Born and raised in New York, Smith has the “most vivid memories of being in grade school and going on field trips with my classmates to the Empire State Building. I remember being in awe of its magnitude, so it’s really amazing all these years later to be showing my collection there.”
A spokesperson for the Empire State Building stated she is “excited that the first time we have ever closed our world-famous observatory for such an event will be with another native New Yorker.”
Hopefully, the rainy New York weather will have subsided by the time Smith’s show hits the runway at 9:00 p.m. ET. The collection is a celebration of ‘20s glamour, intended to prove to the world that New York is back.