DFW Style Daily Exclusive: Daring Designer Charles Smith II Discusses His Haute Couture Debut

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Charles Smith II of the provocative Dallas-based line Smith II is not new to the fashion scene, but his debut Haute couture collection is making an entrance that cannot be ignored. After showcasing his memorable ready-to-wear pieces on various runways and winning last night’s “Top Designer” title and $2,500 grand prize at KVIL RUNWAY 1037‘s first-annual designer competition, the bold young designer has emerged with unique handcrafted collection and per his reputation, it guarantees to be daring and chic. Today at DFW Style Daily, we have the exclusive on Smith’s newest line, debuting next Saturday, April 9 at a location to be revealed. We can’t tell you where just yet, but let’s just say it’s pretty monumental. 

Read on for an exclusive interview with the designer and sneak peek of his Haute couture collection.

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The New York native model-turned-designer has been making his mark on the Big D over the past few years, creating a presence that screams to be noticed. Smith attended the Art Institute of Dallas and has since launched his career into high gear with multiple collections starting in December 2012. He has taken over runways at both independently produced events and regional collective shows and even convinced us to wander into skate parks, heels and all – not once, but twice to get a glimpse of his sexy sportif designs. His custom evening and daywear for women and men, while largely black and white, break the rules of fashion in all the right ways.

“I think of myself as a creative,” stated Smith. “The point [of fashion] is to make people feel something.”

Smith’s debut fashion show premiered his striking personal collection packed with leather, mesh, exposed zippers, and wild faux fur. The details in the garments set them apart from the norm of beautiful garments. The collection featured pieces that exposed a hint of breast, zippers below hemlines and mesh draped against models’ bodies. Almost grunge inspired, the collection was not intended to be perfect. The line excited attendees and definitely left a lasting impression.

S2 was a game changer from his past season of custom and evening wear. The collection was a bondage-inspired ready-to-wear line for women. The designer chose to broaden his fashion horizons, offering pieces at a more affordable price point, but still keeping the same aesthetics in each design.

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Why now we asked the young designer about his Haute couture debut. We soon learned that this has always been a dream of Smith’s and the success of his SMITH II and S2 lines enabled him to take the Haute leap. This collection was created with a more mature client in mind, due to the price of the garments and the time it takes to create each piece by hand (nearly 18 hours!), but we’re sure to see some die-hard SMITH II fans saving up for the pieces. By applying his unique fashion formula to higher quality fabrics such as chiffon, silk, and poly-neoprene sourced from the U.S. and France, Smith was able to create this collection after 11 months in the drawing room. See below for a video teaser for the new Haute couture line.

“I don’t use the words ‘Haute couture’ lightly,” stated Smith. “When I was in France for Paris Fashion Week in 2015, I learned techniques from ateliers themselves and got to truly understand the craftsmanship that goes into an Haute couture design. Designing Haute couture takes an obsession. This is an emotional collection for me.”

We look forward to seeing the full collection on the runway next week, as the designer will only release the image above before the exclusive runway show on April 9. Always coming up with new and creative ways to wow his audience, Smith arranged for 65 early-bird guests to arrive in looks from past collections, custom-fitted for the occasion. By encouraging attendees to wear his designs, the designer hopes to expand awareness of the talent Dallas has to offer. Keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram next Saturday at 8 p.m. for real-time coverage of the sold-out runway presentation. 

Smith II Haute couture image courtesy of Lorenzo Wallace. KVIL RUNWAY image courtesy of Paul Audia with Audia Vision.

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