Billy Reid’s mastery of fabrics helped elevate his men’s and women’s collection to a whole new place for spring.
The designer first showed the line at his annual shindig in his hometown of Florence, Ala., a few weeks ago as an installation at Rosenbaum House, the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home in Alabama. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the architect’s birth.
Reid said the house, which he visits often, helped inspire the spring line. “As I put the looks together, it was like people hanging out at a cocktail party,” he said.
The line centered around soft, drapey pieces in luxurious fabrics such as washed suedes and leathers, cotton linen blends and shearlings.
Reid said he worked “toward softening our silhouettes throughout the collection and using lightweight constructions, softened interlinings and fabric hands. We wanted the garments to have a lived-in feel. We used textiles combining silk and cashmere in garment-washed suitings. The effect gives a broken-in luxury and sense of ease, to which our customer responds well.”
Among the standout pieces was a man’s tan linen jacket over a jacquard sweater with a “fragmented” silhouette worn with a cotton cashmere tubular pant with no side seams to allow for movement.
Also for men, Reid showcased a super lightweight Windbreaker that looked like parchment paper and suede jackets that were washed down to the point that they felt like cotton. There was also an innovative tweed pant in raw silk that looked like wool but was much lighter.
For women, Reid showed a blue suede suit with a wrap belt as well as a garment-dyed washed and oiled leather skirt with a cropped jacket.
A shearling “cardigan” with an unstructured shoulder over a utility pocket shirtdress was also a standout.
“I love texture, but they can make the fabrics weighty,” he said. “What’s working for us is slightly looser silhouettes and fabrics with a lighter weight and hand. Everybody wants lightweight now.”
And that’s just what Reid offered up in his sophisticated Southern way.