Tracy Reese's Collection Lights Up FW — & We Chat With Her!

With all the frenzy surrounding Michelle Obama's DNC dress this past week, it's easy to forget that Tracy Reese was in the midst of preparing for her NYFW show. The designer, who is a favorite of celebs as well as the first lady, sent her spring '13 collection down the runway yesterday at Lincoln Center, delighting attendees (including us!) with look after look of so-fun dresses, jackets, and trousers. The tent came to life, thanks to Tracy's palette of neons and brights, and all sorts of prints, beading, and embroidery.
Not to be overlooked are the truly effortless silhouettes — from the breezy dresses to the unstructured jackets (in a neutral we're seriously crushing on) to the loosely draped pants, comfort with style was the name of the game. The collection was inspired by the foliage hues found in British painter David Hockney's landscapes, and the light, carefree, nature vibe rings true in every look.
We were lucky enough to catch a moment with the designer before her show to chat about all things Michelle — and, of course, see how she is handling the stress of Fashion Week. Check out the interview below, and browse the slideshow to get a sneak peek at what Mrs. Obama might choose next spring.
How did you find out that Michelle was wearing your dress at the DNC?
"When she walked on stage!"
Really! Were you watching live?
"You know, we were at the office, and someone called me, so we started streaming. She just looked so amazing and just glowing, and she gave the speech of a lifetime. It was such an amazing speech. We were just happy to be part of this moment in history and an amazing moment for her. And, she made it a great moment for us, as well."
Did you design the dress originally with anyone in mind?
"You know we have a similar style that we ran for spring, and we just wanted to pick a color and fabrication that would be really stunning for her, something that we were planning to do going forward, and we sort of fast-tracked it so that we could send it down in hopes that she might be able to wear it."
Have you noticed any difference in the company since she wore the dress, even though you’ve been in the Fashion Week zone?
"Definitely. It's been nonstop; we’ve been rolling with it. We’re super excited — our website lit up, web sales are huge, and our store has been so busy. People have been calling and asking about the dress. And, you know, they’ve been buying other things, which is awesome. I think people who might not have known who we were, now they’re our Facebook friends, so that’s really cool."
If Obama does win the election, what would you like to see Michelle wear during the inauguration?
"Just something that she loves that flatters her, that makes her feel beautiful, and lights her up. She can pretty much wear anything; she’s got that magic."
All this has been happening during prep for your show — do you have any Fashion Week survival tips to get through the madness?
"I try to get to the gym. I made it four out of seven times this week, which is impressive. It relieves stress. And, just stay open to where the week leads you. It might not be where you thought you were going, but it might be a better place than you planned, so you kind of have to go with the flow a little bit."
Photo: Courtesy of Tracy Reese