Southern Comfort at Billy Reid Fall 2014

Billy Reid marked the final stop on our itinerary of men’s shows at New York Fashion Week this season—and we couldn’t have asked for a more immaculate style spectacle to cap things off.

From the Alabama native’s ruggedly luxurious clothes to the jaw-dropping historical venue, woozy live-music soundtrack, and bourbon drinks served on silver platters upon the show’s conclusion, the evening coalesced into a full immersion in the Billy Reid world. We were on-site and front-row with photographer Faith Silva. Keep reading to see a full gallery of sublime images and video of the show.

It was a brisk night to say the least, with snow still piled up outside The High Line Hotel in West Chelsea, NYC—luckily Billy Reid had a solution inside, with racks full of sumptuous fur-lined and blanket-inspired outerwear.

Models leisurely chit-chatted and checked their phones in the grooming area, while stylists and photographers buzzed about.

Check out the parquet floor. This part of the High Line’s centuries-old setting used to be a basketball court.

A short walk up giant stone stairs that recalled the building’s monastic past (at one point it contained dormitories for Episcopal ministers-in-training) led to The Refectory, an ornate event hall where the evening’s main proceedings would occur.

The engraving above his head reads, “Manners makyth man.” Point well-taken.

Designer Billy Reid (center) jokes briefly with models after going over the game plan, pre-show.

Mood lighting.

Guests soon started filing in. The illustrious Nick Wooster.

Bruce Pask of T Magazine studies the show notes; internet renaissance man Lawrence Schlossman (Four Pins, How To Talk to Girls at Parties, F— Yeah Menswear) gesticulates in the background.

Industry guru Josh Peskowitz, in a burgundy beanie and wide, camel lapels.

That’s Esquire fashion director Nick Sullivan in the scarf and grey blazer (and weather-ready boots).

The incredible carved ceiling made it a bit difficult to maintain focus at a terrestrial level—until the lights dropped and the show started, that is:

[Click small photos to enlarge.]

A show that good is best followed by a stiff drink.

Models and musicians. Matthew Houck, aka Phosphorescent, performed live during the show.


One of the models post-show. Not going to ask what he’s been up to.

Your photographic guide for the night, Faith Silva.
See more of her work in our music festival coverage with Gorilla vs. Bear.

Here’s an exclusive video clip by Faith, offering a closer look at the collection’s decadent textures and tactile earth tones (as well as the live soundtrack by Phosphorescent, emanating from the shadows at the back of the hall).

The man himself: Mr. Reid. Ever the utmost gentleman, Billy graciously offered us a moment of his time, even amidst last-minute runway preparations:

MEN’S SHOP DAILY: What inspired tonight’s Fall 2014 collection?
BILLY REID: “It started when we were developing textiles for blankets, and that led us to taking those textiles and using them for coats. That process led to doing other kinds of textures, and taking artwork that we had and trying to develop it into new jacquard patterns.

“Once we sort of learned the machinery and how the looms were working, we just kept going down that road, and the idea was that we would take those fabrications and essentially share them between our men’s and women’s collections, which we were working on concurrently. We realized that there was sharing not only with the fabrication, but also with shape. Because the fabrics, the blankets…The coats became almost like cardigans. When women put them on, they had a certain look, and when a guy put them on, they felt like a more-rugged and totally different look. That led to experimenting with more color, texture, pile, fur, leathers, which sort of all went together. So there was this sharing aspect that drove things in some ways.”

What are some of your favorite individual pieces?
“I loved working with this shaggy faux fur that we have. It looks like it’s crazy heavy, but it’s incredibly lightweight—it’s like a sleeping-bag pile. We put it in stadium-coat ideas, almost like sideline jackets, parkas. It’s actually so lightweight that it has sort of a cardigan look to it. We actually use [the faux fur] as hand-warmers in the pockets. So you’re wearing this thing that looks super heavy, but it’s so lightweight and warm. The sample came in, and I’ve been wearing it all the time here in New York.”

What can you tell us about this venue?
“Incredible. This has been a seminary. It was Bishop Desmond Tutu’s offices at one point. It may have been an Episcopal school for a while, I think? There’s like a gymnasium, and a clock on the wall that looks like it’s an elementary school. It’s just a beautiful, warm, peaceful place. We’re very excited.”

What style advice do you have for men at home right now?
“I see a lot of guys—a lot of my friends—being a bit more confident and bolder with their selections. Maybe buying some pieces that are a little off their grid. I think it’s a good time to step out a little bit. Try some new things. Familiar, but push yourself a bit, you know? Maybe break out of your routine.”

As a Southerner, how has it been braving New York City snow?
“It’s actually been great—I’ve had no problem staying warm with that [faux-fur] coat on! It’s been wear-tested for several weeks. I sort of keep dual-citizenship anyway. I spend so much time up here, and kind of split time between the two [NYC and Billy Reid HQ in Florence, Alabama]. Get a great coat, and it can get you through pretty much any situation.”

You seem pretty calm! Everything going smoothly, with the show set to start in about an hour?
“Man, I’m about to throw my guts up right now! Dude, I’m so nervous. I’m always nervous before the show. I can’t help it. It’s one of those things. I mean, you put so much into it—five months of craziness for eight or nine minutes, and it’s over. It’s so weird! But that’s how it works.”

—  —  —

We hope you enjoyed this preview of Billy Reid Fall 2014.
For now, check out his current collection.

And see more men’s Fashion Week coverage here.


[Photos and video by Faith Silva. Follow her on Tumblr and Instagram.] 

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