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Designer stays true to her distinctive look

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, Nov. 14, 2011, at 8:47 a.m.
  • Updated Monday, Nov. 14, 2011, at 9:08 a.m.

You know you’ve been a fashion writer for quite awhile when you interview an established, very successful designer for the second time and realize the first interview was in the early ’90s when she was just beginning to make her mark in the business.

Tracy Reese was at the Dallas Market Center as the honored guest designer Oct. 27. She still has the same charming, calm demeanor she had the first time we met. A 1984 graduate of Parsons School for Design in New York City, she got her first job at a small contemporary design firm, then quickly worked her way up to design director of the Women’s Portfolio at Perry Ellis. In 1998, she launched the first Tracy Reese collection. But that wasn’t enough, so she started her second line, Plenty by Tracy Reese. “I’m staying busy,” she said with a chuckle.

Now the Tracy Reese brand has expanded to include such products as shoes, home accessories and even candies. Four years ago she was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America as a board member.

The thing I like about Tracy is she has stayed true to her distinctive look. Her collections are full of feminine looks, lots of dresses with a touch of nostalgia. The Plenty line has a more casual feel, and sometimes a Bohemian look. She says she thinks it’s important to “stick with what you do best,” adding, “We bend and flow but stick to our core.”

Tracy says she realizes that today’s consumers are accustomed to discount prices and “getting a sale price every other day.”

“Our goal is to have merchandise compelling enough that people will pay full price. Women who buy our clothes are pretty loyal, and we as manufacturers don’t let them down,” Tracy said.

I’ve enjoyed sitting across from her parents during her fall shows in New York. Her mother is deceased, but her dad is still there on the front row, beaming. At the end of the show, Tracy always gets a hug. “I think my mom is still there, too,” she said.

Boss lids

What do Lady Gaga, Fred Astaire, Kid Rock, Victoria Beckham, LL Cool J and Marlene Dietrich have in common? They have all been inducted into the Headwear Association’s 2012 Hall of Fame. Every year, the THA recognizes stylish individuals renowned for wearing hats. Gee, wonder why Sarah Ferguson’s daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, got left out? Those were some, well, interesting hats they wore to the royal wedding. Lady Gaga has donned some head-turning theatrical headwear, and word has it she wanted an internship with master milliner Philip Treacy, who by the way, designed the above mentioned chapeaus.

I can’t remember Victoria Beckham ever looking anything but chic when photographed wearing hats. But once, just once, could the woman smile?

No man has ever been able to duplicate the style and grace of Fred Astaire. Even though the induction is posthumous, he deserves it. Top hats, boaters or fedoras, he looked great in them all and could dance, too.

Kid Rock wearing his cowboy hat reminds me of the hair stylist Jose Eber. But don’t tell Kid Rock I said that.

New 'jewels'

If you’ve not been to Karg Art Glass, 111 N. Oliver in Kechi, you need to go. All the glass is great, but the jewelry by Leslie Belcher, Roger Mathews and Corki Weeks is certainly worth the trip.

This is the first time Rollin Karg has had a jewelry show, but he started out big.

Leslie’s work has been worn by a number of celebrities on the red carpet. Their work will be on display the rest of this month.

Reach Bonnie Bing at 316-268-6246 or bbing@wichitaeagle.com.

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