Welcome back to our new column, Desk Side! Sorry, PRs, we stole your lingo and in this new feature we’ll go to the desks of some of your favorite designers, editors, stylists and assorted industry insiders to see where the magic happens–and then share it with you!
First we chatted with Pamela Love, then we gawked at the office of Paper magazine's editorial director Mickey Boardman. Now we're catching up with designer Tracy Reese in her whimsical workspace, where she dished on everything from her favorite architecture to who she follows on Twitter.
What's the first thing you do when you get into your office everyday? Turn on my computer and check my emails. What's your typical work outfit comprised of? An easy dress and comfortable shoes.
If we opened your desk drawers right now, what would we find? A mess.
Any secret stashes? You know it's not so secret, I've got my tea and honey... and I've got my cayenne pepper, which enhances any lunch!
You've been successfully designing your own label since 1998, has your design process changed since then? I've got a lot more help than I had in the beginning, that's for sure! And also, just with technology, I think it changes the way we work to some degree. And we're able to see a lot more through CAD's and Photoshop. We used to just kind of intuit everything and like, cross your fingers that the samples came through right. And now we've got like, a full visual reference before we even cut samples. So, the technology side has changed things a lot.
That being said, what's your go-to technological item or app? Is there anything that you can't live without now thats been introduced into your process/ life? I'd say photoshop, I'm not the one doing it actually, all the assistants do it and the interns know how to use it... I actually made them teach me once and i got so wrapped-up, I just couldn't move forward. You just keep going back into it and changing things. It's just like, you know what? It's better if you do it and I tell you, "Make this a little more pink and that a little more blue," and whatever. If I do it myself it all takes too long, but I think it's become indispensable.
You're also now using social media, who do you laugh at all the time on twitter? We like the CFDA's and following friends and stuff like that, it's more intimate for me than any stranger. So, you know if I meet somebody at a party or somebody else in the industry or just other friends of mine that I know are tweeting, that's who I like to follow. I don't quite get following a stranger, but I think it is a window into somebody else's world, which I think is great.
Speaking of parties, what's the best or most fun party you've ever been to? I love our Fashion's Night Out party! That's a blast, at our store on Hudson St we always have a dance competition and we let people dance in the windows--it's amazing how many people really wanna dance in the window. It's pretty hilarious... it's always like a good, crazy, let the steam off party. So, that's a lot of fun.
In your free time, (if you have any) whats your favorite thing to do? You know, I like to get around! I like to go to museums, I actually end up doing a lot of sketching in my "free-time" but, you're relaxed and it's not pressure-packed so, you can really get to the heart of what you want to express in a relaxed setting. Not just sitting in the office like "oh my god, if I don't get this done today then they won't have time to make my protos and my samples won't get made!" The whole pressure thing is really dialed-down so, I do like to sketch in my free time. I would like to say that I like to garden in my garden upstate. But, I don't necessarily like doing the maintenance all by myself. I have to literally call somebody on the phone. It's like "Talk to me while I weed!" You can really just do it mindlessly that way...you're just weedin' and talkin' and weedin' and talkin'. So, that's ok, but yeah, I like to go into the shops and galleries and stuff like that.
What's the most random thing in your office right now? Could it be that beaded elephant or that pink parakeet? ...Which one is the most random?... I don't know!
There's also a lot of pink in you're office. Is pink your favorite color? It's one of my favorites, since I was a kid, but I like that bright pop. I'm stimulated by color so, I don't like bland environments. What's the most prominent color in your life? There is a fair amount of pink, but strong pink. I don't really like pale pinks that much... a lot of red as well, fair amount of blue too! You know, I hate to single out one single color... there are sooo many amazing colors in the universe! If you weren't a designer, what would you be? I would love to be an architect or maybe an interior decorator.
Which is your favorite building in the city? It's funny, I usually like the old ones. I like older architecture, interior-wise and exterior-wise, there was just so much more to explore and I think modern structures, it's really about the shape and the silhouette and all that. But, the older structures, there's just so much amazing detail. And you know, when you look at some of the buildings from the teens and the twenties you look up and its like, oh my god there's color! There's just amazing craftsmanship and a lot of that craftsmanship has died out... stone cutters and mason workers, glass people and the glazers who did all of the spectacular colored glass and stuff like that, that's a dying breed. So, I really enjoy amazing craftsmanship and same thing if you go in a pre-war building, apartments were built for living you know what I mean? And there's the storage and there are rooms and there's some character to the spaces. I really appreciate that. And when I find that in modern structure, I'm super excited, because it's like ok, this has it all for me... best of both worlds. So, I guess I'm drawn to a lot of older ones, where there's spaces to explore.