W Hotels has a new project inspired by supermodel and W’s global fashion innovator Joan Smalls: an “off-duty” closet featuring off-the-runway looks from seven top designers—Veronica Beard, Yestadt Millinery, K/LLER Collection, KREWE, Rails, Jibs Life, and Road Twenty-Two—that are reflective of the beauty’s personal style. On the 57th floor of W’s Time Square digs, Smalls talks all-things fashion, travel, and of course room service.
Joan, Sarah Easley curated a closet inspired by your style—how did she do?
She did amazing! When we first met and she pulled out street style pictures of me and I was like, Oh my god! I didn’t even remember that look! She was able to just get a sense of my style and narrow it down, which I think was incredible.
How has your off-duty style evolved over the years?
Because I’m in fashion and being behind-the-scenes, we always get insight before everyone else so we know what’s going to be on-trend, and I think that’s the evolution that I’ve had. I’ve matched it to what I’m already comfortable in. It’s all about fit and how clothes looks on you and caters to your body.
Since we’re in a hotel…what’s your hotel routine?
I always get room service. I love carbs and even ordered in some food today on the shoot. I got chocolate chip pancakes! It’s always something sugary but it does depend on where I am and if I’m feeling hormonal. [Laughs] I also love ordering in pasta. In between meals, I’ll get a smoothie if I want a little bit of a healthy snack.
What kind of packer are you?
I’m a neat packer. I’ll make sure everything is planned out. If it’s five days I’ll pack for six days, just in case. I like having options. Whatever I bring I like to mix and match.
What piece in the W Hotels closet would you always take with you?
The leather jacket. It’s a staple that everyone should have. It looks good, and it’s timeless.
Where’s on your bucket list to jet set to these days?
Thailand! I’ve never been. I would love, love to go. I just went to the Maldives for the first time and that was on my bucket list. I’d also like to go to Rio.
Take us back to your first time in Times Square!
I stayed in Times Square one winter with my sister because I was trying to find a modeling agency to represent me. Not knowing New York, only from what I knew from movies, I thought Times Square seemed like the central area where everything would be. I didn’t know there was an East and a West with addresses, so we’d go in a taxi, tell him the number, and they’d leave us on the other side of the street and we’d have to walk the whole thing!
You’re from Puerto Rico—what are you doing to help with its current state?
The great thing about this closet is that all the proceeds will go to Unidos For Puerto Rico. Obviously, Puerto Rico is always on my mind so I want to do as much as I can do to cater to that, and that’s a beautiful thing about this project.