Fresh off of Michelle Obama wearing her design for yet another historical occasion, Tracy Reese held her spring 2014 runway show at Lincoln Center Sunday afternoon. But instead of keeping the inspiration domestic, the designer jetted down to Havana (figuratively) for her upcoming collection.
“I’m attracted to it because so many amazing cultures that are alive in Cuba and that make up Cuban history,” Tracy told me backstage before the show. “African descent, European descent, Spanish descent—you name it. It’s an incredible melting pot and everybody has something to contribute to the culture and I just love that about life.”
“That’s sort of my approach to design,” she continued. “I want to dress a lot of different people. I’m not that one muse designer.”
Hm… was that a hint to say there’s more to her work that just dressing the First Lady? Well, I’m not sure how the FLOTUS would feel about bare midriffs and printed backpacks (which were super cute, mind you), anyway.
Reese translated the “sensuality, energy and optimism” of the multi-cultural island with sporty meets feminine accents—pretty eyelets, edgy leather paneling, beachy raffia embroidery, tropical prints and ladylike lace—with sporty-meets-flirty silhouettes of flippy midi-skirts and dresses, cropped skinny trousers, floral bomber jackets and, of course, the spring 2014-must: crop tops. Reese refreshingly cropped it on the breezy, let’s-drink-mojitos-by-the-resort-pool side of things. The boxy black and white tropical floral tank and full-skirt outfit and the flippy white lace-cami paired with matching slouchy linen-striped golf shorts are especially breezy ways to wear the look.
The color palette brought the balmy islands to mind: Rich poppy reds, minty greens, sunflower yellows, cornflower and aqua blues, and summery whites.
The Havana Nights theme was in full effect in the buzzy room, too. Cute guys sporting straw fedoras and vests mingled with guests before the show (based on their boy band-coordinated outfits, I thought they were about to burst into song, but one guy said they were there to “create the mood.” Eye candy is always welcome, people). The organizers considerately offered a bag of plantain chips and a baked good on each seat–which were quickly devoured (take that, fashion week diets!). The models strutted down the runway to Afro-Cuban tunes and they channeled the show-theme with *gasp* SMILES and a hip-swinging swagger to the sexy beat. A few even took a moment too long flirting with the cameras at the end of the runway, prompting some really unappreciative camera people to yell “GO, MOVE” so they could get a clear shot of the next girl walking down. Jeez, impatient New Yorkers. Maybe it’s time to book a relaxing beach vacation somewhere, huh?