LaQuan Smith Spring 2013: Dear eyes, we apologize

When LaQuan Smith emerged to take a bow at the end of his presentation for Spring 2013, titled “Beau Jardin” (beautiful garden), there was a certain sheepishness to his gait, a certain evasiveness to his eyes. No wonder: there was nothing beau about that jardin, and he knew it. Any eyes meeting his were due an apology.

Beloved by fashion editors and limelight-seekers, Smith’s designs have become known as much for their outlandishness as for their sure-handed workmanship. Alas, it’s the latter that has gone missing from this collection.

The designer says he was inspired by moments of tranquility found during recent travels around the African Diaspora and here at home. But the clothes were anything but tranquil, with jarring neon and metallic shorts and miniskirts eye-stabbing through lace overlays or beneath organza cover-ups. Silhouettes tended toward the bare and spare: see-through cover-ups, high-slit skirts, triangle tops, shorts and minis, piped bustiers, and the bodysuit that remains on the lam from the seventies for yet another season.

Nothing wrong with a little skin for spring, nor a lot. The trouble is the construction. Slits gapped and pulled, overlays were stiff and awkward; and when the most that can be said for a slinky orange jersey maxi dress is that it has nice piping, you know you’re in trouble. The poor models failed to fill out the misshapen triangle tops, even as the awkward skirts pinched flab where none existed at their willowy waistlines.

The reason Rihanna can look great in a gold leather eyelet catsuit is that it’s a meticulously crafted gold leather eyelet catsuit. Smith is a visionary who has already wowed the world plenty in his brief career. Here’s hoping he can soon look his fans in the eye once again.

 

Video: LaQuan Smith Spring 2013

video by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine