Tracy Reese: Fashion’s First Lady

After her Spring 2013 show, the designer talks inspiration, Michelle Obama's DNC dress and more.

Getty Images
Getty Images

(The Root) — When I first met Tracy Reese, she was the signature designer for Magaschoni, turning that bridge label into a head turner by installing her feminine flourishes in all the right places. Fast-forward to today, Reese has a successful eponymous line that is about 15 years old, two diffusion lines, home textiles, shoes and … well, the big “and” this season is the giant nod that first lady Michelle Obama gave the designer when she wore a Tracy Reese frock to deliver her awe-inspiring speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Suddenly those who aren’t in the know about the black female designer from Detroit are vying to find out.

Meanwhile, her presentation of Spring/Summer 2013 may just be her best collection yet. Keeping her feminine sensibility, Tracy combined vivid color with intricate beading, elegant cutouts, drapey jackets, cropped jeweled trousers and flowing sunny dresses, all mixed up together to make a palette that seems right for a confident woman who likes to look pretty.

I stole a moment with Tracy after her Spring/Summer 2013 show on Sunday at New York Fashion Week to gain some insight into what her design process is like now and what she thinks about having our royalty wearing her clothes.

Harriette Cole: What inspired this collection?

Tracy Reese: Juxtapositions of cultures, of textiles, of colors — organic and technical, tribal and romantic — and then I put these things together and make a strong, clear message that’s versatile and works for a lot of different women.

HC: There were a lot of oversize pieces. Why?

TR: I just feel like you can take it away from the body but still be sexy. You can be comfortable and sexy, too. A lot of women will get with that.

HC: Michelle Obama wearing your dress at the DNC — what has that done for you?