Lafayette 148’s Emily Smith Paints Venice Into Garments

Over the last two years Lafayette 148 has been building its partnership with nonprofit Save Venice by sponsoring the conservation of the early 18th-century painting “Virgin in Prayer” by female artist Giulia Lama.

Coming full circle with the painting set to return to the Venice church in July, the restoration became the starting point for creative director Emily Smith’s resort collection.

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“We go through a journey of celebrating the painting itself; the time period that it was painted in, which is the Baroque time period; the place, which is Venice; the process of painting, and the painter herself,” Smith said during a preview.

The result was a signature craftsmanship- and art-driven collection that subtly rendered her inspirations into a lineup with thoughtful, referential details and capsule-like groupings.

Paying homage to the painting, as well as the city of Venice, was Smith’s overarching, warm palette and rich textures, like head-to-toe burnt sienna and copper-hued looks in cashmere, merino or leather; a deep malachite green lambskin leather trench and wide pant, or a Venetian blue-green “Lagoon-”colored stellar draped plissé dress. The frock also nodded to the idea of oil painting’s deep brush strokes, later seen via the collection’s textural painter’s palette print, which mimicked the idea of smearing paints with a palette knife (taken from a hand-painted work that took “about three weeks to dry,” Smith added.)

Also nodding to the painter’s process was a pair of ecru denim pants and limited-edition canvas and leather L-Tote bags with “palette effect” splatters, hand-painted in Los Angeles. The duo was paired with a new take on the brand’s signature white shirt — similar to the embroidered style that actress Emma Stone recently wore in Cannes — with an elongated and loosened silhouette, high collar and front and back buttons.

Rounding it out with Baroque inspirations, Smith pointed out pearlescent embellishments, trims and real pearl buttons, as seen hand-tacked to the pleats of a chic white straight shirt and matching midi-length skirt. She continued to balance the era’s decadence with restraint via Venetian mirror-inspired metallic skirts (a silk-blend fleur-de-lis jacquard matching vest and skirt); easy portraiture-inspired lattice details (on a black hand-macrame and fringed dress), or myriad sleek black and white layers across outerwear, cocktail and suiting.

“It was fun to take something so over the top and make it our version. It’s inspired but not literal,” Smith said. “Our woman wants to be taken seriously and she doesn’t want to look crazy. We say the clothes can’t wear her, she’s wearing them.”

Launch Gallery: Lafayette 148 Resort 2025 Ready-to-Wear Collection

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