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Tracy Reeses clothes tell a story. They remind you of the time you crept into
your mothers room, rummaged through her trunk full of enchanting threads
and covered yourself in pearls and all things lace. As you awkwardly walked
to the mirror in those 4-inch heels to rejoice in your fashion achievement, a
warm smile spread across your face.
Designer, Tracy Reese, brings you back to that priceless moment when time
stood still and you felt nothing less than fabulous.
Women around the world flock to the Detroit native for her ultra feminine
creations. Reese has spent over ten years designing for the woman who simply
loves being a girl. The Tracy Reese woman is an ageless and modern woman,
she said. I design for global women who are intelligent, nostalgic, worldly,
charming and have an appreciation for luxury.
Reeses unwavering attention to detail is evident in every stitch. At the
Spring 2009 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, models sauntered down the
runway draped in luxurious silk, crepe, linen, chiffon and lace. Skirts were
embellished with flower cut-outs, leaves cascaded down a cropped leather jacket
and printed floral motifs adorned pleated skirts. Hair was lightly swept back off
the face baring pouty lips, luminous eyes and lavish chandelier earrings. Her
enchanting spring collection represented the evolution of this lively season.
culture designer profile: Tracy Reese Architect of the Infinite Spring
40 tgmlink.com | February 2009
The Green Magazine | 41
by naimah jabali-nash
Reeses color selection is interpreted in three
vignettes. The collection begins with a soft palette
of eggshell whites, powder blues, nude pinks and
accents of fresh ginger that set the stage for springs
magical return. This transition of serene hues is
followed by deeply saturated colors that represent
the arrival of the new season. Bold graphic prints
reflect the beauty of spring on tiered dresses, belted
blouses and tulip skirts.
The Tracy Reese Spring 2009 collection is
a brilliant progression of nature and form with
delicate, yet sophisticated, pieces that emanate
modern romance and strong femininity, Reese
said of her collection. Relaxed silhouettes shift
into layered and then architectural shapes,
telling the story of a garden fantasy and the
evolution of spring.
Reeses vintage chic aesthetic and her ability to
flatter women of various body types captivate her
admirers. Reminiscent of designers Coco Chanel
and Ann Taylor, Reese effortlessly accentuates
a womans figure with a practicality that makes
her clothes wearable. Grammy award-winning
songstress Alicia Keys, actresses Sanaa Lathan and
Cameron Diaz, and former supermodel Veronica
Webb all swoon over Reeses flirty designs. Webb
told reporters that Reese brings a very sophisticated
and easy elegance to a womans wardrobe. Tracy
Reese is for someone who wants to feel smart and
comfortable, but who also wants to look incredibly
polished, she said.
Before the glitz, glam and mayhem that is
fashion week, Reeses career started at home.
Her mother, Pat, would challenge Tracy and other
women in the family to speed sewing competitions.
The one who finished their outfit first was deemed
the winnerloser paid for the fabric. Needless to
say, Reese rarely did the latter. Although she took
a few fashion design courses while attending Cass
Technical High School, her true aspiration was to
become an architect or an interior designer. Still
one of Reeses teachers thought otherwise and
advised her to participate in the Parsons School
of Designs summer program in New York.
Afterwards, Reeses dreams of being an architect
quickly faded. She had found her nichefashion.
She graduated from Parsons in 1984 and immediately
secured a design assistant position with French designer
Martine Sitbon. A few years later Reese started her own
line with financial support from her father Claud. The
venture proved to be unsuccessful and her line folded
in 1989. She rebuilt her career over the next nine years
at Perry Ellis, Gordon Henderson and as head designer
at Magaschoni. In 1998, Reese relaunched her line,
Tracy Reese, and added plenty by Tracy Reese the same
year. Plenty developed as the more bohemian younger
sister to Tracy Reese. It is accessible designer fashion.
Its ethnic, youthful, trend driven, vacation wear that
allows women to update their wardrobe seasonally,
she explained. Reese created plenty Home Collection in
2006 as an extension of the brand. I feel like the same
woman who wants to wear plenty wants that whimsical
feeling to permeate throughout all aspects of her life.
This spring Reese cultivates a new vision by introducing
the Tracy Reese Black Label.
Reeses inspirations stem from the world around
her. However, music is critical to her creative
process. I am constantly listening to music. Some
artists that inspire me are Alicia Keys and Feist,
she said. Reese continues to keep her vision clear.
Her clothes emit a demure sexiness that easily
transitions the fashion forward woman from an
after work cocktail to a black tie affair. In a world
where youre only as good as your last collection,
Reese manages to stay relevant. I think I have
been lucky to become a mainstay in the fashion
industry because I continue to develop a strong
philosophy by staying true to my specific point of
view, she said.
Reeses commitment to truth is not limited
to the catwalk. She recently joined more than 25
designers including Alexander Wang, Narciso
Rodriguez and Diane Von Furstenberg in Runway
to Change. It is a coalition of designers who
have created limited-edition items that display
Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obamas
message of change. The opportunity to design an
item for the campaign and partner with VOGUE
came up and Im passionate about this candidate.
I knew I needed to be participating and not just
watching and hoping for the best, she said.
Tracy Reese makes women salivate over her designs
as if they were subjects in a Pavlovian study. Her
pieces are not fashion staples, but essentials. As Reese
prepares to unveil her Fall 2009 collection it may be
best to keep your eye to the future. Decades from now
your daughter will be donning this 2009 vintage in
front of the mirror.