Tracy Reese

The native-Detroit designer talks about her holiday collection and fundraiser this month


After receiving rave reviews for her spring collection shown at New York Fashion Week, Detroit native Tracy Reese took a break from her jet-setting schedule to talk with Hour Detroit via e-mail.

How did the collaboration with St. Joseph Mercy Oakland [this month at The Townsend] come about?

My sister, Erin Reese-Burks, is the administrative director [for] Business Development, Oncology and Women and Children’s Services at the hospital. When she asked, I was honored to participate.

What collection will be shown at the fundraiser?

My Tracy Reese Holiday 2010 collection. [It has] romantic elements updated with hard textures and modern fabrics. [It’s] sophisticated yet seductive. 

Does your Detroit background ever shape your collections?

Detroiters love getting dressed, especially for special occasions. That love of dressing up definitely shaped my taste and how I design for women.

How do you find time and creativity for your three labels?

I don’t! It’s definitely a struggle to multi-task and juggle, but you just make it work.

First Lady Michelle Obama and many A-list celebrities are fans of your designs. How does it feel when you see them in magazines wearing your looks?

It’s always exciting when big names wear my designs. Every time the first lady wears my collection, I’m truly honored. I think it’s really important for the first lady to be seen wearing clothing [that] women can afford and find in their hometowns.

This is our ‘Best Dressed’ issue. What elements go into being well dressed?

Confidence is key.

What fashion advice can you provide for holiday dressing? Any piece or color to buy this season?

Mix textures and interesting fabrics and embellishments. Lace looks great against jersey, and faux fur and velvet add a luxe touch.

What is your go-to holiday hostess gift?

I think scents are truly powerful. I designed my Plenty by Tracy Reese candle collection to embody some of my favorite scents. I like to give these as gifts to warm someone’s home or office. The Blithe Spirit scent was inspired by childhood days spent in my father’s garden.

What do you miss most about Detroit? Where do you go when you come home?

My family, the arts and cultural community that’s always so lively. [And I] always visit my grandmother’s house.

Your favorite Detroit memory growing up?

Playing outside with friends in Green Acres [the north Detroit neighborhood].

Where are you based? Does your home reflect your taste in clothing and accessories?

New York City. Fashion and home design are so entwined. I love rich textures, prints, and fabrics in my collections and in my home décor.

Any big projects or collaborations in the works?

We just launched Plenty by Tracy Reese footwear, which is very exciting.

A Night With Tracy Reese, Nov. 12, at The Townsend, Birmingham. Tickets: $75/patron, $150/benefactor (includes a reception and opportunity to meet Reese); 248-858-6146.

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