Who needs a stylist when Parsons School of Design alum Tracy Reese offers her inside scoop on style made easy for the everyday woman. When asked what three stylish rules should never be broken, the designer says, “Be confident in whatever you wear; dress in what you feel best in and what accentuates your body type; do not get stuck in trends; and never wear leggings as pants.”
Interviewed by Qianna Smith
For spring 2009 designers chose color palates for their collections that embodied sheer femininity with a touch of romance. Purple hues like lavender, lilac, and violet shades are sure to make your skin tone look luminous and intensely sweet.
Actress Sanaa Lathan attends the Tracy Reese spring 2009 fashion show. Reese’s presentation was shown to a packed house in the main Tent of Bryant Park, a step up from last season’s spot in the Promenade. The collection was colorful and dainty, with lace and silk free flowing on the runway.
We asked the designer who her must-have Black models are and she dishes, “It is always very important for me to have different ethnicities represented in my shows. Different complexions accentuate different colors best. One of my favorites was this dramatic pairing of the rich pansy (purple) embellished frock on model Nana Keita’s dark chocolate complexion. The purple just popped."
“I love dressing established women and up-and-comers. We recently dressed Alicia Keys, Brandy and Taraji P. Henson. I think Taraji is going to be very big; “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is going to be huge for her!"
Taraji is seen here in a Tracy Reese creation at Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ birthday party at Mansion night club in NYC.
In this current economy, Tracy advices women looking to dress their best for less to “know what you already have in your closet before shopping. It is easy to rediscover key pieces that have been hidden in the back. Also, find different ways to wear the pieces that you already own. For example, a classic black dress can be worn casually with tights and flat boots or to an evening affair with high heels and great accessories.”
Tyra Banks and Tracy Reese collaborate to bring fashion to the masses at The Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC. Tracy presented her coveted collection to a large street audience that was aired on “The Tyra Banks Show.”
Tracy Reese rocked the runway in 2008. “I designed a T-shirt in support of Barack Obama’s presidential run for Runway to Change. I met Michelle Obama this summer at a fundraiser and I was impressed with her strength and confidence and energized by the possibilities of change in the White House. When Runway to Change came up–I jumped at the chance to be part of this historical time,” the designer says of her biggest personal fashion moment of the year.
Andre Leon Talley, editor-at-large for Vogue magazine, and Tracy Reese share camera time together at the fashion tents in Bryant Park during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2008.
Actress Jennifer Hudson attends the 79th annual Academy Award nominees luncheon held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel wearing Tracy Reese. “I design clothes perfect for the modern woman, combining ultra-feminine pieces, exquisite tailoring and construction with intricate details and embellishments,” shares Tracy.
“I love to pile on necklaces to complete an outfit. Depending on what I am wearing, I will accessorize with a sparkly necklace made with lots of rhinestones or a bold accent piece of big colorful beads. The construction/tailoring and details are key attributes of my collection,” Tracy tells ESSENCE.com about her essential style ingredients.
“When designing clothing, I like to create pieces that highlight the natural curves of a woman’s figure. It is important to me that the clothing I make results in a stylish look that all women can feel their best in. I always want the garment to fit well so that a woman—size 2 or size 12—feels great wearing it.”
Read more about Tracy Reese’s reaction to being selected as the ESSENCE.com Designer of the Year.