Fishnet. Bows. Chokers. Blush rose. You wouldn't see that combination anywhere, but these 4 seemingly unrelated details come together flawlessly in Charles Smith II's latest collection. Following his iconic "Do Not Touch" collection was never an easy task, but Smith II goes back to his attentive deconstruction of form & function in his AW17 collection. By all accounts, a bow and a leather choker is great for street style, not the runway, but Smith II makes them work. He has a truly rare gift, creating designs which simultaneously reflect his vision while adapting to any woman wearing them. You could say that's one of the many things he learned from one-on-one talks with André Leon Talley or Chanel's Maureen Chiquet at the Saint Louis Fashion Incubator, but his archives show otherwise. The AW17 collection stands out in refinement, structure, and versatility like no other before it. A wide variety of textures come together to create chic yet unexpected looks that look incredible on anyone. I managed to catch Charles in between his fashion show (as seen in Vogue) and countless other projects to play with his collection. Through it all, while Charles Smith II is best known for his experimental combinations of fabrics and unexpected silhouettes, his constant determination to grow is his best quality and he continues to impress anyone following his bright career. Take a look at some of the looks from his collection as captured on film by Said Abusaud of Afterglow Gallery and read the exclusive interview below.
What was the inspiration behind your AW17 collection?
The Inspiration for the collection spread across a series of continuous and some nuances such as the spirit of Nina Simone and what she stood for as a woman and as a African American woman using her platform to stand up and not afraid to sacrifice her own career to speak on fairness and equality of the civil rights era to stand for whats human rights as human beings on this earth. And her voice was the essence of inspiration just as jocelyn pook who is an amazing composer who both women extract the spirit of the people and the universe and belt that through there gift of sound and compelling emotions within themselves and those who listen
This collection features a wide variety of textures and fabrics, what draws you to a specific fabric?
Specific fabrics simply from color tone and experimental self designer reasons while still trying to understand the brands DNA but also understanding the client and who or the lifestyle of said client.
What is the significance behind the bows in this collection?
The significance of the bow was a symbol of women being a gift to the world with their resiliency, strength, sacrifice and nurture angelic abilities to project a motherly and womanly instinct to compel men and people to be kind to one another.
Your collections are often monochromatic with a featured color, how did you choose the blush rose color featured in this collection?
The blush color came about again with me being open to an audience critique and simply seeing and challenging myself to see if I could do it and if people would love it or hate it.
What have been the highlights of your experience as a designer at the Saint Louis Fashion Fund?
My highlights have definitely been for sure recently being able to spend time one on one and phone conversations with Former Editor at large of Vogue, Andre Leon Talley to speak on fashion but also real problems within the industry and in life. So getting to really relate and speak to one on one of his caliber was and has been the biggest highlight.
What are your plans for the future?
My future plans is to continue to grow the brand and also work on building to a recognition status level to then pursue a Creative Director position as Lead Designer for Chanel once Karl Dies. Not Speaking that into existence but someone so amazing of his caliber who loves what he does does not quit a position like that, you either have to kill us or we die of natural causes!
We look forward to seeing what Charles Smith II creates next, view the full collection here.