We’re growing to love Billy Reid’s presentations because they always tell a story–and this season, we couldn’t help but remember the lauded designer’s own inspiring narrative. Billy, who you may know as the most recent CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner, actually won CFDA’s Best New Menswear Designer award in 2001 as William Reid. His company, like many, hit hard times in the 9/11 aftermath, forcing him to close up shop and head back south to Alabama, where he started over.
Now, 10 years later, Billy is one of fashion’s shining stars. His presentation last night drew a crowd so huge I could barely see the models. To get to the front, I ended up having to nudge my way through the beer-clutching masses and the whole experience reminded me of being at concert. Turns out, I was. Behind the models, and an absolutely gorgeous set of hanging candles and tree branches, was a full band, rounding out the late night outdoor concert vibe of the Milk Studios space.
“Our friends who are playing music tonight, really they became the inspiration,” Billy told us. “Circa 1970′s Laurel Canyon, all these musicians from all over the country getting together to play each other music, feeding off each other. I love the way they take our clothes and how they wear them and I really took their lead.”
The hair and makeup were natural and a little messy and the vibe of the clothes was casual and lived-in. Where previous seasons gave us a group of southern gentlemen, this group of laid back guys may not care as much about being gentlemen, but they had cute girlfriends nonetheless. Billy has grown his womenswear collection slowly, and showed a few looks last season. This season, for the first time, it all came together as a full men’s and women’s collection.
“We wanted it to feel like they’re boyfriend/girlfriend,” Billy explained, “but I didn’t want the women’s to feel like we took the men’s and made it into women’s clothing.” We think he succeeded. The ’70s hippie vibe was definitely there in wide-leg jumpsuits, billowy sleeves and long, flowy skirts and dresses, all in neutral colors and uncomplicated fabrics. Effortlessly cool. Click through for all the looks.