NEW YORK – Billy Reid chose the rooftop of the McKittrick Hotel as the backdrop for his spring 2014 menswear show, an appropriate setting for a men’s collection (he opted not to send his women’s collection down the runway this season) that saw the designer take laid-back luxe to new heights.
The inspiration: “One of the things we wanted to do was really loosen things up a little bit -- we were so buttoned up the last few seasons,” Reid told us before the show. “And I really wanted to show everything we make -- sure, we make tailored clothes but do a lot of more casual things too and we wanted to show that and a lot of the outerwear.”
Reid also said that his business had grown to the point that his design team could focus on developing a lot of their own fabrics. “We’ve worked really hard – there were some jacquard patterns in cotton that was a real trial-and-error [development] process – it didn’t turn out looking anything like we expected it to but it was cool."
The other idea [for the collection] was thinking about when I first moved from the South out to the West Coast in the late '80s and sort of watching how my closet transformed. I wondered what that would look like for today’s guy; pairing a linen tweed tailored suit with a sort of surf-inspired kind of beach shirt.”
The look: Southern prep surf in a color palette of sun-baked browns, dusty oranges and Pacific blues – blanket-stripe linen shirts, shorts and jackets in a jacquard pattern Reid calls “broken plaid” and a pair of surf pants with the kind of blue stripe that could have come from your favorite Baja hoodie. Reid’s focus on fabric was evident in the range of puckered plaids, tweeds and jacquards – and a cool pattern that managed to meld traditional camouflage and floral (in this case camellia) patterns into a combo-camo that’s a welcome departure from a trend that’s almost been "Duck Dynasty"-ed to death.
The scene: The McKittrick Hotel’s rooftop Gallow Green – think rough-hewn rooftop garden meets abandoned rail yard – complete with a stretch of railroad track runway for Billy Reid’s haute hobos to wander. Spotted sitting front row – oddly not assaulted by the usual flashbulb scrum – were actors Will Forte (“Saturday Night Live”) and Mat Bomer (“White Collar”).
The verdict: While we’re certainly fans of the designer's dressier duds – not to mention his women's wear – his spring and summer 2014 runway show was a perfect reminder that Reid's at the top of the heap when it comes to rustic luxe menswear.