TRACY REESE HONORS HER DETROIT ROOTS WITH FILM
Describing her hometown as a phoenix, Reese said she wanted to look back at her childhood but also capture the excitement of today's Detroit in the short film she presented with a collection of clothing that harkened back to a 1930s speakeasy.
Directed by Ali Nasser, with original music by Regina Carter, the film titled "A Detroit Love Song" follows a stunning young woman as she shows off the new clothes from Reese in far-flung spots, from the front steps of a modest wood house to the legendary Red's Jazz Shoe Shine Parlor, where our ingénue takes a high seat for a special shine on her black lace-up ankle boots.
Our muse roams in leg garters attached to her high socks and presses her hand against the glass of a taxi as she cruises Detroit. Reese honors her late mother, who was a dancer, with a scene in a dance studio, where she spent lots of time growing up.
After the film, Reese took her guests from the screening room of The Roxy Hotel downtown into a barroom nearby decked out like a speakeasy, piano player and all, as off-screen models stood still in some of the designs shown in the film.
"It's a city that is so rich in culture," Reese said of Detroit. "It has such amazing people who have stuck with that town through thick and thin. We're sort of at an interesting juncture where the city is changing a lot and there is a lot of new interest and a lot of new blood. People are moving to Detroit because they know they can be a part of creating something amazing."
Her clothes, too, pay tribute to her hometown. Like Detroit, a cultural melting pot with many layers adding depth, she used intricate beading, embroidery and crochet lace to bring her dresses and other looks alive. To mimic Detroit's strong manufacturing roots (Reese's late father worked for one of the car companies) she added masculine suiting in herringbone and plaid.
This being a cold-weather collection, she threw in some coats of fur and zebra stripes. To honor Detroit's rebirth, Reese worked in earthy colors of peat, moss and pond blue.
As for the shoe shine shop, Robert from Red's appears in the film shining up those boots for Reese's muse, a young model who lives in Detroit who caught the designer's eye.
"I just felt like that was so Detroit," she said of the shine. "Every grand building in Detroit has an old-school shoe shine shop in the basement. He does it the old way. He dabs on salve, he whips the towel, he gets out the double brushes. It's something we hardly ever allow ourselves to enjoy. I think more women should be going to get shoe shines."