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July 29 2014

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Billy From ‘Bama

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To the insular, New York-centric work of American fashion, Billy Reid is a bona fide Southern ambassador—he doesn’t need to get two words out in that molasses voice of his before you realize that he ain’t your average Seventh Avenue man. The twang—in tone and in clothes—is Reid’s calling card, but lest you might forget, he trucked up a tableau’s worth of Alabama leaves, twigs, and bushes to fill out the set for his Fall 2010 presentation at Milk Studios, ordered in a coupla cases of PBR, and blasted the Jack White jams. You’d have to look north to see the Mason-Dixon from here.

Thing is, many of the clothes resist the classification. They’re cut from “very English patterns,” Reid says, and despite being made largely in America—including the rough-and-tumble outerwear, crafted on heavy-needle denim looms—take away the summer and smoke and you might as easily be in the old country. There are exceptions to the rule (a patch-pocket railroad-stripe jacket is true blue U.S.A.) but Billy’s strength belies his backstory. There’s an understated cool to his square-cut double-breasted suits and overcoats, and even a metropolitan touch of seventies suave in the turtlenecks he’s showing more of this season, that’ll work all over. That’s good news for Reid’s ever-expanding fan base—sure to be bolstered by his latest accolade, the GQ Best New Menswear Designer in America Award—nationwide. The collaborative Stetsons, on the other hand, made with BR collection fabrics, are all down country. You can take the boy out of Florence, AL…
For full coverage of Fall 2010 menswear, visit www.gq.com/fashion.

Photo: Andrew Thomas

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