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April 20 2014

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7 posts tagged "Tracy Reese"

Pratt Puts Black Designers in the Spotlight

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Pratt Exhibition

“It actually started with my godmother,” explained Pratt Institute fashion professor and curator Adrienne Jones. “She has been collecting information on black designers—she’s 85 now—forever. And one day I was talking to her and I said, ‘You know what? The information is not out there—and it needs to be out there.’”

Five years later, Jones is presenting Black Dress: Ten Contemporary Fashion Designers, an exhibition that opens at Pratt Manhattan Gallery this Friday and showcases the works of contemporary black designers. Jones has brought together a diverse range of today’s African-American talent—artists such as menswear fur pioneer Jeffrey Banks, ready-to-wear designer Tracy Reese, and the iconic Stephen Burrows, as well as newer designers including Michael Jerome Francis, known for his hyper eco-conscious designs, Queens-based body-con aficionado LaQuan Smith, and former Project Runway star Rodney Epperson (above). Photographer and mixed-media artist Carrie Mae Weems has also contributed an original film for the project.

Pratt Exhibition“We wanted to show the huge span [of talent] that we have,” related Jones. “I talk to my undergraduates and say, ‘Who’s your favorite designer?’ And they name the designer or designers that they like. And whether [the students] are black or white, they never know any black designers. So this was an opportunity for me to not only teach them, but [all the others] who don’t know that this collection of people, this collection of talent, exists.”

“This is an honor,” said Smith, in front of his three chosen designs in the gallery (set up to mimic a series of Madison Avenue-esque storefront windows). “If anything, it’s a celebration for us as African-American designers to be able to show our work in such a prestigious spotlight with Pratt, alongside legends like Stephen Burrows, and to be able to say, ‘This is our message.’”

Black Dress: Ten Contemporary Fashion Designers will be on view from February 7 to April 26. Jones hopes to take it nationwide, as well as translate the research into a Black Dress book in the future.

Photos: Steve EichnerĀ 

Runway to Red Carpet: MTV Glamour and a Sultry Spiderweb

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Cate Blanchett in Christopher KaneWith Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards making the move to Brooklyn this year, we saw an interesting mix of Hollywood glamour and Brooklyn’s signature pared-down look on the red carpet. For instance, Ciara shone brightly in a heavily embellished Givenchy Fall ’10 Couture stunner, and Lady Gaga arrived in a newsworthy custom Prabal Gurung gown; however, a few of our favorite looks flew under the radar. Joan Smalls opted for a simple long-sleeve white leather dress from the Viktor & Rolf Fall ’13 runway, paired with strappy black leather Casadei boots, and singer Grimes donned a Versace necklace and patterned pants with a simple black top.

Following her sexed-up VMAs dress, Selena Gomez opted for a sweet Vera Wang Fall ’13 frock with a floral-jacquard print and butterfly peplum skirt for the L.A. premiere of her new film, Getaway, on Monday night.

The following evening, Cate Blanchett walked the red carpet at the Paris premiere of her film Blue Jasmine in a Christopher Kane dress made of delicate cobweb-like lace from his Resort ’14 collection. Paired with a simple low ponytail, barely there makeup, and nude pumps, the heady look was a clear standout on this week’s celebrity circuit.

We should also note that Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech, and all eyes were on Washington, D.C., on this day. While it wasn’t a red-carpet event, the ever-stylish First Lady looked smart and sophisticated when she accompanied her husband to the Let Freedom Ring ceremony in a black fit-and-flare Tracy Reese Fall ’13 frock with a red floral print.

Here, more of this week’s red-carpet highlights.

Each In Her Own Way: A Conversation With Women Designers

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On Friday afternoon, Tracy Reese (left), Maria Cornejo (center), and Suno’s Erin Beatty (right) assembled for “One of a Kind: Individuality, Integrity, and Innovation in Fashion,” a panel discussion hosted by Style.com’s own executive editor Nicole Phelps as part of the 14th annual Initiatives in Art & Culture fashion conference. The three designers touched upon topics ranging from social media to personal time management to dressing Michelle Obama, which each speaker has crossed off her bucket list. Of the latter matter, Reese (who most recently outfitted the First Lady for her Democratic National Convention appearance) said, “That evening was huge for my business, but people kept talking about the dress and I was like, what about her amazing speech?”

The designers are all keenly aware of the pressures facing working women—i.e., those without the time for several outfit changes a day. “Wearing the same thing all day long is the definition of a modern woman,” Beatty opined. “With social obligations in the evening, you get up at 6:45 a.m. and go until midnight. You change your shoes and put on lipstick, and that’s it,” Cornejo said. “I keep a curling iron in my desk,” chimed in Reese, “and assume our customers’ days are just as busy.”

The Internet cropped up as both a positive and a negative. With new collections posting instantly online, Cornejo said, “It’s very hard for anything to feel surprising anymore.” Reese concurred. “It’s difficult to focus the customer on what’s available in stores now because she’s thinking about what’s next. By the time the clothes hit stores months after the show, they’ve already been so exposed on the Web.”

But ultimately, that pressure to keep going back to the well is what drives the designers forward. “It’s indescribable how empty you feel right after a show,” Beatty said, “but that’s what makes us do it again every season.”

The Beckham Holiday Card Fiasco, The Latest Kloss Shoot, Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring ’12 Campaign, And More…

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David and Victoria Beckham are not pleased that their Christmas card, featuring their kids Brookyln, Romeo, and Cruz (photographed by Daddy), has leaked on the internet. Representatives for the Beckham family have asked several publications to take the card down. [Page Six]

Karlie Kloss is on fire. One of the model’s latest projects was posing for Hedi Slimane’s Vogue Nippon shoot for the February issue. This time around, she’s clothed. [Styleite]

Designer Tracy Reese has teamed up with Fashion Fights Cancer on a limited-edition tote bag ($40). One hundred percent of the proceeds from sales of the bag, available at Tracyreese.com, go to FFC. [WWD]

Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring ’12 campaign, spearheaded by Monica Bellucci, has just been released. The images, featuring a beautiful bunch of Italians, were inspired by the likes of Sophia Loren, Monica Vitti, and Anna Magnani. [Racked]

Photo: Racked.com

BMW + Mercedes Fashion Week Showdown. Vroom.

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There’s always been room for boy toys at fashion week, but is there room for Mercedes-Benz and BMW? This weekend, the two automakers are duking it out with back-to-back fashion parties. BMW has pulled a fast one by hosting its own event tonight, the night before Mercedes’—the official sponsor—kickoff at Shang (which will feature a performance by the Virgins and a $300,000 limited-edition SL65 sitting pretty outside). Tonight, BMW is toasting the new, customizable 7 Series
with the help of Italian Vogue editor Franca Sozzani, who recently co-designed one. (Details are sketchy, but we’re told she had it upholstered in a combination of felt, washed wool, and leather.) With Joy Bryant, Helena Christensen, and Chanel Iman co-hosting, it’s sure to be a little swingier than your typical cars-and-cocktails soirée.

To the big spender goes the spoils, though, and Mercedes-Benz has seemingly thrown recession woes to the wind in an effort to spread itself all over Bryant Park and beyond. Even if you don’t refer to this
time of year as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, it’s hard to walk into the tents without feeling that, well, maybe you should. That AMG Black Series model to your left goes from 0 to 60 in 3.6 seconds and has an “air-scarf” heating system that targets your neck (consider it a go-everywhere accessory). True to tradition—and admirably, in this economy—M-B is covering costs for a designer who might not otherwise be able to pull off a show at the tents. This season, it’s Yigal Azrouël. (Last fall it was Ralph Rucci; the brand’s past partnerships include Badgley Mischka and Tracy Reese.) His post-show party will be in the Maurice Villency-designed backstage lounge, where, during a Tuesday hot toddy session, Mercedes will be handing out a ski trip to Stowe, Vermont. How do we know the dream is still alive at fashion week? Even automakers are in a giving mood.

Photos: Courtesy of Mercedes and BMW