Billy Reid grew up in Louisiana and lives much of the year in northern Alabama. But for spring 2014, the designer turned to the West Coast to create a loose, relaxed collection with a California surfer vibe.
"The last couple of seasons we have been very tailored and very buttoned-down, and we wanted to loosen up this season and show a broader range," Reid said after his show, which took place on an outdoor terrace at the McKittrick Hotel in New York.
"I remember moving to California in the late '80s and taking my closet from Louisiana and how that evolved over my time there. And we thought about what would that feel like in today's world."
The nice-and-easy collection features shorts in jacquard patterns and nubby tweeds, blanket-stripe linen shirts, and loose drawstring surfer pants worn with a dinner jacket.
The result is a nice-and-easy collection of shorts in jacquard patterns and nubby tweeds, blanket-stripe linen shirts, and loose drawstring surfer pants worn with a dinner jacket. Shirts are longer, almost like tunics, and jackets have softer shoulders. "I like to still keep it sophisticated, but with a looser vibe as well," Reid explained.
For this collection, Reid also experimented with fabrics, using hand-loomed techniques, transferring digital prints to jacquards and creating a camouflage pattern from a camellia.
"We really wanted to work on fabric development, with a lot of texture, so we ran with that," he said. "It took a lot of trial and error, trying to get the right weight with that sort of texture. It also gave it a little more of a West Coast vibe to it."
His color palette features earth tones with pops of peach, pale yellow or indigo tones. "For us, to come out and do bright yellow wouldn't feel right, anyway," he said.
Music performed by Jon Batiste & The Stay Human Band added a lively tone to the show. "Usually music comes easy for the show, but this was such an organic space, it felt weird to play recorded music," Reid said. "Jon grew up in New Orleans, so once we met each other, it was all connected."
Although Reid also designs a women's line of clothing, for this show he showcased only men's. "There's a disadvantage to showing it together, no question," he said. "There are some limitations and challenges because you are trying to send two messages at one time.
"We said, 'Let's give it a chance to build its own identity.' It doesn't mean next season we won't try it again."
Reid, who owns stores in Houston, Dallas and Austin, says he plans a Texas visit in November. "We've been very fortunate all of our stores have been performing very well. Overall, I couldn't be happier on where we are."