The building's ZIP code was—as far as we're aware—10011, but a step into the Billy Reid presentation at Milk Studios was a step over the Mason-Dixon Line. Before 20-odd weather-warped doors (sourced from Southern Accents Architectural Antiques in Cullman, Alabama) stood 20 strapping gents in sack suits and braces, field pants and "marsh jackets." According to the show notes, we were making the acquaintance of Bitt Hammonds ("always sockless, never Scotch-less") and Sunny Beatty ("squirrel-eating black sheep"). In other words, the Louisiana-born Reid channeled his home state for his new Spring collection—specifically, a dusty, twenties-era New Orleans.

If that sounds like a lot of lead-up before getting to the clothes, it was. Reid's insistent scene-setting can sometimes get in the way—you half expected a streetcar named Desire to pull 'round the bend—and there was a costume element to some of the looks shown here that could stand to be toned down. But no amount of set dressing can detract from the strength of the designer's individual pieces, especially, this time around, the outerwear. A coated cotton officer's coat (here a "marigny coat") was softer than its military inspiration would suggest, but no less structured. Likewise a washed leather lineman's jacket in a buttery tone of caramel. Smartly designed, smartly made: That's the sort of combo that'll get a fella noticed. No wonder Reid was named GQ's Best New Menswear Designer of the Year this year, and a finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, too.