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New York Fashion Week may not have officially kicked off until Friday, February 3rd, but in the days leading up, the calendar was crowded with several events, parties, openings, and formal shows that provided a good hint of what would be in store. Since the fashion world is hungry to know who will be the next Donna, Calvin, Ralph, (I know the late, great Geoffrey Beene was fond of saying, “don’t ask me what’s new, ask me what’s good”) but there is a whole group of new, young, lesser known names that show promise and talent and are subsequently being followed. One of these is Jose Ramon Reyes, a Dominican Republic native who came to New York in 1994 to attend Parsons School of Design’s Fashion Marketing Program during which time he interned with Onward Kashiyama (they handled press for Helmut Lang). He later scored an internship at Chanel in the marketing and press office for the Ready-to-Wear line. After graduation, he became Richard Tyler’s Public Relations Manager working closely with the design team. This experience spurred him on to design his own line and in August 2002 he launched REYES, an eponymous knitwear collection for spring 2003 and in September 2003 he expanded into a complete Ready-to-Wear collection.

The Fall 2006 collection, shown on Wednesday, February 1st, goes from day to evening, is comprised of Italian and Swiss fabrics, and retails from about $150 to $2000. It was presented vignette style on 21 models set up in three rooms of the elegant National Arts Club in Gramercy Park (a venue that is being used by several in the ‘youthful couture’ group). It is the epitome of ‘young couture’- polished yet relaxed and slightly irreverent, and speaks volumes about the designer’s love of unexpectedly mixing elements of sportswear, preppy, and sophisticated, day and night, boy meets girl. Admittedly inspired by the eclectic look of Margot Tennenbaum, the designer pays much attention to detail (such as pleats and tucks), construction, the art of dressmaking, impeccable tailoring, and shape (he manages to deftly balance volume with narrow to make it modern and easy). I especially loved the grey back belted a- line jacket worn with a jacquard pencil skirt; the narrow grey and black herringbone school blazer cut with a military preciseness, worn over a knee length aubergine and silver jacquard shift dress; the black shearling minicoat with fox collar; and the two floor length chiffon columns (the evergreen/plum/grey “bow” column dress and the mauve/aubergine/grey column dress with pleated hem.




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