The Kardashian-Jenners are undeniably influential. Love them or hate them, it doesn’t really matter because you will be saturated with their images via just about every channel we have for communication. Recently, the youngest of the brood, Kylie Jenner celebrated her 18th birthday. We all tuned in to see what would happen—or maybe we didn’t, but we still saw it anyway. Predictably, she was showered with lavish gifts like a Ferrari and a Birkin, bag, but even more exciting was seeing almost the entire Kardashian klan (including Caitlyn) get together to demonstrate the latest and greatest example of a #modernfamily. And what better way to show solidarity than by dressing alike? Cue big sisters Kendall and Kourtney strutting their stuff in coordinating looks from emerging designer, LaQuan Smith.
New York-based Smith is no stranger to the celebrity-dressing game. His clothes have even been donned by the Queen herself. (Beyoncé, natch.) Last year, Kim Kardashian even gave him a red carpet shout-out, but the coincidence of having a Kardashian and a Jenner wear his designers on the same night was pretty exciting. We sat down with the 26-year-old to talk business plans, daring women and what celebrity dressing really means. Read on for excerpts from our conversation.
How’d you find out about Ms. Kendall and Ms. Kourtney both wearing LaQuan Smith to Kylie’s birthday
"I was in Washington D.C. in my hotel room and it was around three in the morning. My phone just started blowing up. I woke up around 5-ish and I’m like, 'Who died?' Like why is my phone on major alert? One of my really good friends was like, 'Is this you?' and it was a picture of Kendall in the skirt. What was so fierce about it was that the way she wore it was so effortless. She really embodied the woman, or the girl, or the essence, or the attitude of what I like to portray with the brand. I was definitely truly excited about it."
What was the reception to this skirt in particular?
"I am definitely blessed to have a team that can look at something that I’ve done and critique me in the right way, in terms of bettering the brand and understanding what are we selling. There is a line between things being trashy and things being classy. We challenge ourselves with that a lot. Can every woman wear this? No, probably not. But it is for a particular woman. I think that the clothes are very ageless. I don’t put an age range on what we do. Kendall and Kourtney [have] age differences and they both slayed it. That is the epitome of what we want the LaQuan woman to be. Just be confident within her sexuality."
So sales and the public response have been positive?
"It’s been positive. I think that what’s been a great advantage for me is dressing It-girls. Dressing the Beyoncés and the Kim Kardashians helps keep my name alive and keeps the brand relevant. And I used to get really weirded out when people are like, 'Oh celebrity designer, celebrities.' I [say], 'No I’m a fashion designer. I design for all types of women. You don’t have to be a celebrity to wear the clothing.'"
Well, it always helps!
"It definitely does."
How do you keep it selective?
"It’s very strategic on who we dress, from a celebrity placement standpoint. When you actually do outreach to do a borrow, it is very selective because we have a certain identity that we want to portray. The first time the Kardashians wore something it was Kim. Kim wore a nude mesh two-piece in the Hamptons getting pizza—and a Prada sling-back. That is what the LaQuan Smith woman would do anyway, whether it was in a stiletto or a Puma sneaker, she is just in a two-piece. And then she wore a full black lace 'Patricia' maxi shell that got picked up everywhere. She wore it in Cannes."
She looks incredible.
"She also said who she was wearing. She was like, 'I’m wearing LaQuan Smith. I love it.' She wore it because she felt great in it. She didn’t wear it by any obligation. She didn’t wear it to be cool. She wore it because she simply felt sexy and confident and that is just really amazing to me. She did an interview. It went viral. People were hitting me up like E! News, Hollywood Access. I don’t have cable, but everyone was like, 'Oh my God, LaQuan, she just said your name!' This is helping the brand grow, because middle America knows her."
Grandmas know her! It’s insane. I’ve never seen anything like it.
"It is pretty incredible. I’ve worked so hard for people to know who I am. I am definitely thankful. It’s an exciting time. I think, 2015 has been an amazing year. I’m 26, on the Forbes list, dressed Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, I mean, I don’t know who I haven’t dressed at this point."
Do you have any dream credits for the rest of this year, anyone else? Since you’ve dressed them all?
"I dressed Rihanna in 2010/2011. She has worn my gold metallic bodysuit in the "Rude Boy" video. I’ve been trying to cultivate a relationship personally with RiRi for quite a few years now. We’re the same age so I feel like if I ever meet her we will just be like homegirls. That’s how I see it in my head."