Tracy Reese on Race, Creativity and Her Latest Collabo With Sarah Jessica Parker
Brian Ach/Getty Images for SheaMoisture

Tracy Reese has brought a touch of color, prints and, not to mention, diversity to the fashion industry for almost 20 years now. She’s known for her unapologetic love of a having a dress-up moment, full skirts, and taffeta dresses on any given occassion. Her Spring 2016 collection had even more of that girly feel with more lace and sparkle than usual, but with deconstructed shapes and less structure, giving it a fresh take.

Tracy Reese’s signature unique prints are crafted into joyful, feminine pieces for the modern woman. More than most designers, Reese is committed to bringing out the beauty in women of all shapes, sizes and colors. And with over 4 lines—Tracy Reese, Tracy Reese Black Label, plenty by Tracy Reese, and plenty DRESSES by Tracy Reese—she’s made a blueprint of how to build a successful empire. We talked with Reese about her Spring 2016 collection, her thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement and her collaboration with Sarah Jessica Parker’s line, SJP.

Your inspiration for this Spring 2016 collection had an image of the police marked with the word ‘transparency.’ How did that translate into a fashion collection for you?

Two things really just came together. One the collection was really inspired by transparency but this is fashion and we live in a special little bubble and the world is going on outside of that bubble. We just have to stay aware and keep issues that are important to us present and in the forefront. We really thought about transparency and texture, and how to move the clothing away from the body a little bit but still feel gorgeous and feminine and mysterious. All the things we want to be.

You’ve been designing for nearly 20 years now! How do you keep it fresh and come with a new mindset for every collection?

On the one hand, it’s just whatever is happening today affects how you look at things and your own personal progression. But it’s my job to stay inspired and I’m always looking, but I am also trying to think of how can I do something better. Sometimes just the sheer challenge of wanting to find a better way to do whatever it is that I’m doing, the sheer challenge of it motivates me and inspires me.

What was it like working on the accessories together, and how did it all come together?

We have talked about collaborating before, and we finally got to do it this season. We’re like minded when it comes to color, texture and sparkle. They were awesome—we sat down and threw some ideas back and forth, and looked at some of her favorite styles, we brought down some fabrics and pieces from the clothing into the accessories and we just jumped in and got it done.

Sarah Jessica Parker: As a longtime admirer of Ms. Reese, it’s a great delight to have this opportunity to partner with her. I find myself frequently wearing her designs not only because her dresses are so easy and comfortable, but because I simply love the way she uses color. It’s no secret that color is one of the pillars of the SJP Collection, and collaborating on these particular shoes with her has been a delight. I feel very fortunate to see our shoes walk the runway with her gorgeous collection.

Reese: It’s been wonderful working with Sarah Jessica on this collaboration! The feminine, colorful, beautifully embellished styles in her collection are completely in sync with our brand DNA. I’m happy to see our two brands walk down the runway together!

What do you like to wear on a normal day when you’re going to the studio and designing?

I wear sneakers a lot—but I do like to wear heels. I really like comfortable slouchy pants and a t-shirt but at the heart I love a good dramatic dress.

Your prints are your signature, what’s your favorite from this collection?

The opening print, oleander dreamscape. It takes me to an amazing field of yellow flowers and the sun coming through.

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