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Profile on designer Tracy Reese

Text of Tracy Reese

  • 40 | February 2009






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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 | 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.