There was an energy and a vibrancy at Tracy Reese today that was unexpected. Prior to the show starting, a soulful rendition of Bridge Over Trouble Waters sang by Aretha Franklin that got its last high profile playing during an episode of ABC's Scandal welcomed guests. The tempo and mood seemingly had nothing to do with the bass thumping runway soundtrack that was to follow.
Models stomped out onto the hazy runway, in a swirl of modern prints, hair slicked and tamed into elaborate knots. The focus of the clothing seemed to be on outerwear. It’s true the designer paid lip service to the season's knitwear trend in funnel turtlenecks and other pieces as well as paid homage to herself with a lineup of sequined numbers for evening, but the opening lace coat, the patent koto jackets and coterie of ponchos to follow made the lasting impressions.
The thing about modernity from a designer like Reese is that while modern, it also looks back. The designer could cast an experienced eye back to the 70s to draw from the same well of inspiration from which many of the New York designers drew this season, infused it with African motifs like the heads of gazelles on knits, poured a bit of her own brand into it, and polished it off with the most contemporary of sheens. It is indeed a tall order to fill, to be cognizant of then, now as well as one's place in it all, but this season Reese did it in spades