The venerable Tracy Reese has certainly enjoyed her time in the spotlight thanks to First Lady Michelle Obama, and even though it’d be awfully difficult to usurp her, newbie designer Laura Smalls is putting in her best effort. Mrs. Obama wore two of Laura’s designs at last week’s Democratic National Convention — first, a soft turquoise watercolor print shift and second, an eggplant-and-white dress — providing the under-the-radar designer a shot at serious fame. And considering Laura Smalls will be showing her collection at New York Fashion Week any minute now (seriously — she’s on the calendar for tonight!), it’s probably about time you get to know her. Find out more about the up-and-comer (and get your hands on her designs) before she becomes too hot a commodity to handle.
Name: Laura Smalls
Age: Late 50s
Profession: Designer, day and nightwear; mother of three
Training: Parsons The New School for Design grad; designed outerwear for Amerex; has sold her namesake collection to Henri Bendel and Bloomingdales
Aesthetic: Boldly feminine yet practical with a hint of uptown tenacity
Debut Collection: Spring 2010
Client List: Michelle Obama (and soon enough, everyone from Beyonce to Anna Kendrick)
How She Got Her Start: Smalls wore her own design to a gala that André Leon Talley, Vogue’s editor-at-large happened to attend, and after he saw her sketches, he suggested carve out a spot for herself on New York Fashion Week’s calendar. She’ll be showing tonight at the Andaz hotel.
Fun Fact: Her godmother was the legendary Billie Holiday!
Want to know more about Michelle Obama’s style? Find out what else she wore to the Democratic National Convention, shop her blueish-gray nail polish, or find out what the First Lady says she’d never be caught wearing!