Zadrian Smith and Sarah Edmiston designed Diggs at Giorgio Armani and Louis Vuitton on Sunday night, the highlight of their new partnership.
“Taye is someone Sarah and I have always wanted to work with,” says Zadrian Smith, who, along with Sarah Edmiston, designed Taye Diggs for the 2021 Critics Choice Awards. “We really love this idea of working with people whose values and morals They align with us and what he’s been doing, with the books he’s been writing, and what a great father he is and the projects he’s working on, this is the kind of person we want to work with. “
For the third year in a row, Diggs will host the awards show on March 7 from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California on the CW.
“I grew up really in awe of Ralph Lauren and the preparation and everything he stood for,” Diggs says of his personal style. “Now that I am much, much older, I like the comfort. My son likes sports, so we constantly go shopping for shoes together.” The actor, currently starring in The CW’s All american, he’s also set to reunite with the original cast of The best man for the limited series derived from the Peacock movie.
Based in London, Smith and Edmiston recently joined forces after a decade in the industry, brought together during the pandemic by their mutual friend, photographer Misan Harriman. “We had been put off by some of the aspects of the industry that are responsible for projecting an idea of beauty that is not inclusive,” explains Edmiston. “We had also been a bit disheartened by the way the fashion industry can be inconsiderate in terms of racism, ageism and a bit misogynistic.”
In their first nine months of working together, the duo recently dressed Kingsley Ben-Adir for the BAFTAs and also worked with Naomi Scott, Lachlan Watson, Arlissa, and Naama Preis. Of their association, Edmiston continues, “it’s like a little family and we’re really only working with people whose values and morals align with ours.”
Smith describes his approach to style as “we try to honor the identity of who the customer is. We saw that Taye loves hats and that he’s a pretty classic guy and we just wanted to elevate that. ”Diggs’s first look Sunday night is a champagne Giorgio Armani suit with a black satin lapel, worn with a Longines watch. and Giuseppe Zanotti shoes.
“The first look is the quintessential protagonist, the Giorgio Armani moment,” continues Smith, “and we are very grateful to the entire Giorgio Armani team. We wanted to honor classic Taye, but we also wanted to lift him up. “
Diggs, who also writes performance-focused children’s books, the next of which, “Why? A Conversation on Race,” to be published in October by Macmillan, describes appearance as a combination of his love of grooming. and style. “I’m very colorful, I like to pop; even when I was preppy, I was always drawn to the brightest colors, patterns, polka dots and stripes,” he says. “[It] I find it classy to see Sammy Davis Jr. and the Rat Pack in that kind of look, the tux and the black pants, the sharp kicks. Just everything in its place. I feel that way in that first outfit. “
Edmiston adds that Taye’s personality was the main inspiration: “All the wonderful energy and grace that [Taye] He contributes to everything he does that is why we were so excited, because that is the dream person to wear. Giving our clients the opportunity to wear clothes that reflect their values and reflect what is important to them and tell the story of where they are in their life right now, that’s it. “
Diggs’ second look for the evening takes her classic look and adds a twist. “We all saw the news about the lack of support for black designers at the Golden Globes,” explains Smith. “For me and Sarah, diversity and inclusion are the loudest drums, and that’s for female empowerment, that’s for trans rights, LGBT rights, for minorities. So the designer that made the most sense to Taye this time around was Virgil Abloh. What Virgil is doing at Vutton is absolutely incredible. “
Louis Vutton’s double-breasted suit, which Smith and Edmiston paired with the same Longines watch and Jimmy Choo shoes, is subtly unexpected. “Virgil plays with proportions, shapes and textures,” continues Smith of the work of Abloh, Louis Vuitton’s male artistic director. “The best thing about this suit is that it’s like the 80’s, it’s a bit big and it has also done something really interesting where you would normally see the buttons of a double-breasted suit, where the buttons came out, Virgil has kept that closed so you don’t see that detail. “
About the second look, Diggs says “it’s obviously much more expensive and better cut, but it was the same style that I was looking for during my prom. I love that, the length, the pants are a bit looser. Nostalgic. , literally. And that just shows that everything comes back. ” (To get ready for the night, Diggs worked with Dane Cristian Diego and Sergio López-Rivera, who used products from Pat McGrath Labs and Patrick Ta Beauty.)
Although she resides in the UK, Smith has dual citizenship that allowed her to settle in Los Angeles for award season (working with assistant stylist Jazmine Gandhi), despite the COVID-19 pandemic. “We started preparing this at the end of January, so the lead times are much longer,” says Smith of the effect of the pandemic on his process. “You have to start thinking about it and connecting with brands much earlier because obviously the days of doing last minute things don’t really exist, especially if you want things shipped from other countries.”
Their partnership may be new, but Smith and Edmiston (both represented by The Wall Group) say they really enjoy working together and are perfectly aligned in their philosophies. “None of us have any interest in painting our aesthetic on the client,” explains Edmiston. “We are both interested in really getting to know the aesthetics of the client and what makes them look like them, and then we just want to elevate it and maybe temper it.”