Charles Smith II hasn’t paused for a breath, it seems, since his September 2013 debut. Part runway show and part performance art piece, that memorable evening kicked off a prolific period for the daring young designer, birthing several more collections in rapid succession. Today, we have news of a new effort from Smith, and per his reputation, it promises to be black, white, and bold all over.
When asked to describe himself in five words or fewer, Charles Smith II ignored the rule. He also speaks in contradictions, but we’d expect no less from the Harlem native model-turned-designer who exposed himself to Big D, so to speak, through mesh, beastly faux fur, plenty of pleather, and more than a little skin. Click here for images from the Charles Smith II debut show.
The aforementioned response began with the words humble, confident, and insecure. Smith then continued in his self-directed description with the phrase, “Obsessive in wanting better for humanity.” To conclude, the exhibitionistic Art Institute alum confessed, “Selfish in putting my peace of mind first.”
For the record, that’s 17 words, a dozen in excess of the directive, but excess is par for the course with Smith. Over the past year and a half, he’s presented several complete collections at both independently produced events and regional collective shows. Comprising custom evening and striking daywear looks for men and women, each range held true to a largely black and white palette. We spied the occasional sanguine splash, but to be sure, no pop culture-approved shades of grey were necessary for Smith to express his own bondage-inspired bent.
Today, with the coming of spring, we learn of another impending launch from Smith’s ever-expanding brand. Previewed through a single Instagram image (pictured below), S2 by SMITH II will be available in full online in early April. As we await this more affordable, ready-to-wear diffusion for women, read on for insights from the designer himself.
DFW Style Daily: What inspired you to launch a ready-to-wear line, after multiple seasons of custom and evening wear?
Charles Smith II: “The inspiration, for me, is simple; I want everyone to be able to have something from the SMITH II umbrella. By creating a diffusion line, S2, and bringing it to a more affordable price point, it opens up the chance for more of those who want it, to have it. It brings a familiarity in silhouette, my aesthetic take on each design, to ready-to-wear.”
Describe the S2 woman, as you envision her.
“The S2 woman is a confident risk-taker who loves to experiment with her style for herself – not to impress anyone. The S2 woman is someone who is sometimes insecure, and uses her wardrobe as armor for protection. She does this effortlessly. She is also the woman who is a mother, who hasn’t lost her sense of style, and she is also my version of the new Texas woman. She could be the blogger attending Fashion Week, or the editor. The S2 woman is every woman.”
If you could dress any celebrity in S2, who would be the perfect fit?
“My idea of a celebrity would be certain fashion industry influencers, like Olivia Palermo or local blogger Amber Venz. Also, well-known celebrities like Rihanna and top model Joan Smalls, as well as creative genius, Carine Roitfeld. These women are all S2 inspirations.”