Laura Smalls, an African-American fashion designer whose dresses have been seen in Vogue, New York Magazine, and on the likes of First Lady Michelle Obama, closed out NY Fashion Week in true panache. Her spring/summer 2012 presentation entitled ‘Legacy,’ captured my affection as one of my favorite shows of the week.
Set in the penthouse suite of the Centurion Residence on W. 56th St., the emerging NY-based designer showed a beautiful collection of 26 meticulously crafted looks that were alluring, smart, even whimsical at times. There was the oriental floral print organza dress fit for an elegant night out, the form-fitting coral asymmetrical dress with a print back, and the head-turning emerald green, hip-hugging Dorothy Dandridge trumpet style gown with a rose flounced bottom. Guests of the show were the crème de la crème of the fashion and entertainment industries including Andre Leon Talley, contributing editor at Vogue, supermodel Chanel Iman, Bethann Hardison, the editor-at-large of Vogue Italia, magazine publisher Jocelyn Taylor, opera singer Kathleen Battle, philanthropist Grace Hightower De Niro, and musical icon Valerie Simpson, of Ashford & Simpson.
As the show progressed, I became more and more impressed. In addition to the more upscale evening wear options, there were sexy jersey dresses (one in a gunmetal color with shoulder cut-outs), jumpsuits, flattering summer dresses, and a show stopping peony pink shift dress with cap sleeves. Almost every look was moving and resonated with the aesthetic of a modern, sophisticated woman which Smalls executes flawlessly.
The designer also took the opportunity to pay tribute to the late Nick Ashford, a singer-songwriter, who was a dear friend of hers. As Smalls emerged to close out the show, her famous friends and colleagues were there to congratulate her. For more information on Laura Smalls’ collection, visit www.LauraSmalls.com.
For more fashion musings, check out my blog Disciples of Haute.
— Sharifa Crawford