LaQuan Smith Reveals Inspiration Behind His Louis XIII Cognac Collaboration

It's time to raise a glass of cognac—that is, to salute LaQuan Smith for being tapped as the first ever designer to collaborate with Louis XIII cognac. The New York native is expanding his design horizons to create a limited-edition, two-item collection that consists of "The Drop Chain Pouch," which was designed to hold a single bottle of Louis XIII The Drop or be worn as a dazzling necklace or body chain for the true fashionista, as well as "The Boudoir Gloves," an ode to opera-length gloves that mimic Smith's signature catsuit mesh design.

While the LaQuan Smith brand is synonymous with luxury and sex appeal, adding a cognac collaboration to its portfolio wouldn't be a first thought for most. Yet, with both brands catering to audiences who relish in a celebration of life and evoke a certain je ne sais quoi when entering a room, a meeting of the minds is not far off. The LaQuan Smith woman is elegant, sensual and has an air of timeless glamour, according to the designer, much like he feels about the historic Cognac brand. From being a Louis XIII cognac drinker himself to meeting the team in France to kick off the collaboration, Smith details his excitement, gratitude and desire to create a collection that evokes "luxury, lifestyle and timelessness."

The limited edition accessories will be available for $2,300 USD on the brand's website and will also include five multi-colored 10 ml bottles of Louis XIII Cognac inside a Louis XIII: THE DROP Collection Box.

Below, learn more about this limited-edition, first-of-its-kind collection from the designer himself.

For more from LaQuan Smith check out our coverage of his Spring/Summer 2024 collection.

Tell us how the Louis XIII x LaQuan Smith collaboration came about.

Louis XIII has pretty much always been my cognac of choice. What's so incredible about this partnership is that Louis XIII and LaQuan Smith share a very similar brand ethos and we're both deeply rooted in the concept and the idea of what celebration looks like. Understanding the historical aspects of the brand and then bringing my funky, fashion-forward creative vision to the collaboration, I wanted to really create something that felt unique and modern and that people would have for a lifetime. The women that I dress—it's no specific demographic, no specific age and no specific income—are for every woman who wants to be the center of attention. I wanted to create something that was universal, timeless and elegant.

How did you land on the opera style gloves and the drop pouch as the two pieces for this collection. How do these items connect with the ethos of the LaQuan Smith brand?

I'm always thinking in a very progressive way, when you think of LaQuan Smith, you think about, sensuality, my designs are very provocative in that way. Louis XIII is deeply rooted in heritage and culture, so there was a sort of balance where I had to create something that embodied that timeless elegance that could stand the test of time. Specifically, with the opera gloves, it's a nod to this sort of provocative sex appeal that LaQuan Smith represents and combining that with the jewelry and paying homage to the classic elegance of the Louis XIII brand. Creating an accessory piece that invokes a sense of timeless glamour and sophistication. I think the gloves are reminiscent of old-world charm and every time Louis XIII cognac is served to the person who's drinking, they're always wearing white gloves, you know, it was like little things like that, that I was paying attention to, keeping within the lines of the tradition of the brand. The drop bag can be worn to the gala as a crossbody, around the neck, around the waist as a belt, it just works.

Are you interested in doing more collaborations to expand the LaQuan Smith brand? Have you ever considered venturing into the beauty space?

I want to do it all. I want to do menswear, shoes and bags, specifically. I love beauty; it's so essential to the presentational process when presenting my collections. I'm highly interested in fragrances and at the end of the day, there's nothing more powerful than smelling really good and I believe in having a signature scent.

As we know NYFW is upon us. Are there any sneak peaks you can give us about what to expect for your upcoming show?

I've been working on this collection for the last four and a half months and it's very special. I want people to expect this resurgence of New York glamour. You know, sharp tailoring, this unapologetically sexy concept, sexy looks and really just overall branding and trademarking—what it means to be at a LaQuan Smith runway show. I'm a native New Yorker; I've been in business for over a decade and I believe in what I'm doing. I believe in sort of the resurgence of American fashion and American design is bringing back that vibrancy when it comes down to New York Fashion Week, just allowing and giving people a space to be creative and giving them something to look forward to and have a level of escapism.

Is there anything else you would like the Hypebaes to know about this collaboration?

I'm super grateful to be a part of such an iconic brand. As an African American designer for an independent brand, this is a big deal for me. I would have never thought in a million years that I would be doing something so extraordinary as this. So I say all that to say that I've been blessed in so many ways and I hope that this partnership and collaboration opens up doors for many other designers and creatives and allows them to really dream and stretch themselves as far as they can and don't limit themselves to just one particular thing. As long as the collaboration or partnership is something that is aligned with what you do and who we are as artists, I think it's totally okay to expand and collaborate with some of the dream tastemakers that we've always wanted to work with.