A great read about late designer Willi Smith, as they announce his dedicated exhibition at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City opening March 13th.
And even as a Coty Award–winning designer doing $25 million annually in sales, he never got over the thrill of spotting one of his creations in the wild. “We’d be walking along and he’d say, ‘Oh my God! That person is wearing my jacket,’ ” recalls James Wines, the founder and president of SITE. For Smith, the woman in the street was both his inspiration and his intended audience. “Willi once said that he didn’t do clothes for the queen,” says Laurie Mallet, with whom he founded his label, WilliWear, in 1976. “He did clothes for the people who lined up to wave at her.”