EXCLUSIVE: LaQuan Smith Talks CÎROC Passion Partnership And The Inspiration Behind His Upcoming NYFW Show

The fashion designer is gearing up for his Spring '23 fashion show.

CÎROC celebrated the launch of the latest permanent flavor inspired by Sean "Diddy" Combs - CÎROC Passion - at château CÎROC. This sensory experience celebrates and empowers the passion that fuels us.

With Black creatives, Chef Richard Ingraham, illustrator Karabo Poppy, fashion designer LaQuan Smith, and artist Bryson Tiller, guests immersed themselves in the flavors of new CÎROC Passion while exploring areas curated by the talent partners themselves. Attendees sipped on curated cocktails while exploring the many different brand ambassador-influenced sensory demonstrations. Each installment gave attendees a heightened sense of smell, touch, taste, and sound.

BET spoke with fashion designer LaQuan Smith about the "touch" installation and the inspiration behind his upcoming New York Fashion Week show. Smith says, with "Touch" being one of our first senses and one unparalleled in creating a sense of connection, I wanted to show guests a few of these elements that have inspired my designs and ignited my passion at château CÎROC.

Bryson Tiller, LaQuan Smith, Chef Richard Ingraham, and Karabo Poppy
Bryson Tiller, LaQuan Smith, Chef Richard Ingraham, and Karabo Poppy

BET: How did this partnership with CIROC come to life?

LaQuan Smith: I'm really inspired by P. Diddy and everything that he's built. He has such an influence on Fashion and Hip Hop, so this partnership with CIROC is very organic. Diddy embodies Black Excellence. Whether in Fashion, culture, or film, particularly in the Black community, so it was important for me to partner with them on this unique activation. 

BET: Tell us about the inspiration behind "Touch"?

LS: My particular activation is about "Touch," As a designer, my initial inspiration is usually about textiles. Feeling the fabrics and materials. Sometimes it's about an illustration, but most of the time, I'm in the market in Paris or Italy and find the dopest fabrics and textiles. Then I say, 'ok, I know exactly how we are going to design this collection,' I wanted to build a room with a signature fabric of mine and show guests what it means to feel unapologetically sexy and encompass the world of LaQuan Smith. 

BET:  New York Fashion Week is coming up, can you tell us about your new Spring '23 collection? 

LS: The New York heat inspires me. It's so hot; it's ridiculous. It's really making me think about how we dress and the fabrics hitting our bodies. I'm thinking about the body-conforming styles and what's breathable in heat, along with the fluidity of fabrications. It has me thinking about textiles, and again 'touch,' and the feeling. Our skin is so sensitive and smooth, and women want to feel and look sexy at any age or size. So, the Spring collection will encompass the fluidity of fabrication and bold rich colors. 

BET: Who is the LaQuan Smith Woman?

LS: The LaQuan Smith woman is the Center Of Attention! She is the epitome of modern, feminine, and glamourous. She is a woman that is empowered by her surroundings and very in-tuned with herself. She loves to show off her curves. My brand is about celebrating the sensuality aspect of the female form. I've realized that everyone may not be comfortable in their own bodies, but for the women that are, I'm the designer for you. I'm the designer for women who want to get glam, get dressed up, and go out and have a good night on the town. 

BET: For your last show Julia Fox walked the runway. Will you have any celebrities strutting this season?

LS: You'll have to be at the show to find out!

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.  

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