What, exactly, has super-stud LL Cool J (né James Todd Smith III) been doing loitering in the front row at shows like John Varvatos and Y-3? Studying, he tells us. That glorious specimen of a man recently launched the streetwear branch of his Todd Smith clothing line at the Las Vegas Magic convention, and he’s now taking some time to check out the competition. “It’s interesting to me to see what people are doing, what they’re inspired by,” he told us backstage at the Varvatos show. “I mean, I can’t make a great record without listening to everything that’s out there, and I can’t make a great line without caring about fashion. You’ve gotta study everything.”
Actually getting to the shows, he says, has proven difficult. He had to cancel on Baby Phat (“Kimora says I owe her one”), and he was really excited to see Juicy Couture until he was “informed that they don’t have a show. I was pretty disappointed about that.” But he did think the sweaters were “hot” at Zegna, and he loved the footwear at Y-3, which reminded him of Everlast boxing shoes.
As for his own clothes, he was wearing jeans and a studded, silver-lined black hoodie from his own line. “Varvatos needs to make his clothes a little bigger so I can fit them,” he explained. Though we’re usually entirely turned off by celebrity brands, we actually think this guy might be on to something. “I’m not looking to be anything but streetwear. I just don’t want to be ghetto,” he says. The prices will be set low: $28 for a T-shirt, $119 for the hoodie. And stores will have the items soon: “They’ll be in Against All Odds and Man Alive,” he says. “It will be in the places where people who love LL shop. This isn’t about Nordstrom.” —Jada Yuan