Afro-Cuban inspiration, fashion advice from mom and her 5 must haves.
For one of my duties as Ouidad Curl Consultant this past New York Fashion Week, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview talented designer Tracy Reese before her epic Spring 2014 show. We chatted about her Afro-Cuban inspiration for the season, fashion advice she got from her mother and her top 5 must haves in warm weather. Check out our video, full interview, and backstage pics!
Joy Adaeze: What brought on the Afro-Cuban influences?
Tracy Reese: You know it started with fabric. When we were researching fabric for the season. There were so many incredible tribal patterns and we wanted to sort of have our way with them. And there was also a spirit of energy and movement, and I don’t know, when I put it all together it just felt very Cuban and there are so many ways we can go. The Afro-Cuban part, you know, is what I feel is very primary. It’s tribal but we’ve taken it in a really modern direction by adding some athletic influences and silhouettes, so it’s a really cool blend of romantic and athletic with a lot of texture and very clearly defined pattern. And then we go into a story that is a little more romantic with pinks and seagreens and ochres, and all of these colors that I feel that very much represent Cuba. Very sultry, but again there’s still like a feeling of athleticism. There’s a bit of a cabana vibe to it, we’ve got a little boy-girl thing going on…because when you look at Cuban guys today they’re like in the street, you know, they’ve got so much swagger and I kind of just want that represented on the runway, too.
JA: I read in an interview that you and your mother would sew together when you were a child. Style wise, what are some words of wisdom your mom passed onto to you?
TR: Dressing to flatter. My mom sewed because she had kind of an extreme figure and off-the-rack clothes didn’t always fit or suit her. She [was]…really curvy, small waist, hips and thighs, which I also have. And that’t why she sewed, to customize her clothing. As a designer, it’s important to me to try to view the clothes with a spirit of individuality and customization. I want the customer to feel like she’s got something that’s special, and that there’s not thousands of them.
JA: What are your warm weather must haves for travel?
TR: Well, you need a really good beach cover up, but it should be something really pretty that you can wear inside, like if you want to go and have lunch. It should be good enough for that. I’ve had a few really great ones that we’ve done in the company. A really incredible maxi sundress. I love those, I live in them in the summer. But, I also like a full skirted bodice dress, like a 50s, kind of Dolce Vita style..Dresses are incredibly important in hot weather…I don’t want to worry about a bunch of separates…Shoes that are foxy, that’s important. We’re showing some really cool shoes for Spring. They’re actually comfortable. I think, you know, we’re seeing more and more of that. It’s more accepted, you don’t have to be in pain to be fashionable. So that’s a good piece. And a bag, gotta have a bag!
JA: Thanks, Tracy! You know, I came to your show 7 years ago when I was a little intern so interviewing you is just a dream! You’re amazing and I am a big, big fan of your work.
TR: Thank you so much!
MORE FUN BACKSTAGE
Fab makeup artist, Mally Roncal! She loved my shades : )
Instagram pic with my girl Nikki Ogunnaike, style editor at Glamour.com
AT THE SHOW
Loved it all, Tracy!
Special thanks to Ouidad and La Force & Stevens!