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It was a hot summer day when my husband and I met André Leon Talley for lunch at Il Buco. We sat outside at the sidewalk café, where just about everyone that walks by recognizes the fashion icon. I presented my sketches and swatches of inspiration that I'd put together, he immediately chose the sketch of the White Dress from a plethora of ideas on the table. Ultimately, this design was chosen for the Will. I. Am “Buttons shoot and worn by Kendall Jenner. I was thrilled that it was chosen to be a part of and it, was truly a dream come true. And to top it off, Kwaku Alston was the photographer, and it was such an honor to have my designs photographed by such talent. 


During the same meeting with André, he went through all the sketches and the materials I had laid out for him. I had a large hanger of gold in my portfolio which I took out to show him. I had mentioned how great this fabric would be for outerwear and doing it in gold in a big way. He said " Great Fabric". Not thinking much of it and quite frankly didn't really think he seemed interested, to my surprise 2 weeks later he called. He said “Laura, Do your Outerwear wear thing with the gold and why don’t you make a Parka for Naomi?". I thought… what a Genius Idea! and got to work. It was one of those things that just transpired perfectly, the result is the “Lit “ Parka as shown on Naomi Campbell in the Will. I . Am campaign. 


Throughout the Obama administration I've had the privilege to dress Michelle Obama on numerous occasions. From The Democratic National Convention in 2012, to events such as speaking at Howard University with Seth Meyers and Nick Cannon to the Karaoke Carpool event with James Corden in 2016. For me there is no higher honor than seeing such a magnificent and iconic First Lady wear pieces from my collections. I would call my mother when I would see her in my designs and all we would do is scream together! Loudly! Just imagine a designer with not a very big presence in the Fashion world to have had these experiences is inspiring on so many levels. Dreams do come true if you believe! 


Carpool Karaoke Michelle Obama

I was going through Mood Fabrics, just looking around for nothing in particular. Sticking out of the all the big bolts of fabric was this small piece of this beautiful print. Just 3.5 yards. I went to pay and my credit card was missing! I was nervous to leave this fabric that I fell in love with, but the clerk assured me she would hold it until I returned with my credit card. OMG, I can't tell you how fast I ran back to the restaurant where I left it. Once they went through all of the trays with the payment receipts (which it felt like it a lifetime) there was my credit card at the bottom of the pile. I ran back praying she kept her promise, and yes. she did, it was still there! Feeling blessed that I found this beautiful little piece of fabric and that the woman behind the desk was kind enough to hold on to it for me, I went home and got to work. I really had no idea what would become of it.  Turns out, Mrs. Obama chose it to wear for the Carpool Karaoke episode with James Corden!

"It was so exciting to exhibit this dress among my peers and those great (and in some cases forgotten) design talents who paved the way for us all." - Laura Smalls 

"It was so exciting to exhibit this dress among my peers and those great (and in some cases forgotten) design talents who paved the way for us all." - Laura Smalls 


Tamron Hall Laura Smalls

The Obama Administration's Final State Dinner - The Gorgeous Tamron Hall needed a gown for the final State Dinner and I was ecstatic When André Leon Talley requested me to bring sketches for their selection. Dorothy Dandridge and Lena Horne were her idols so we collectively channeled their auras to collaborate on her gown. She was stunningly beautiful that night and such a gracious lady to design a dress for.


Kourtney Kardashian

One of my very first orders shipped was to Scoop, and the Copper dress must have made a strong statement. Five months later I received a call to check the correct spelling of my name for a full page spread for the September issue of InStyle, the dress was being worn by Kourtney Kardashian! I was extremely lucky my dress was found and chosen for that spread.