A good reason to take a Lakefront road trip north from Chicago is Simone's in Winnetka. Another good reason to trek out of the city is when Brian Reyes is at Simone's for a weekend trunk show, highlighting both his Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter lines. When I first entered Simone's last Saturday (after having the luxury of parking right in front of the shop, which is a rarity in the city) I was greeted by the friendly Simone who was busy helping quite a few customers trying on Brian Reyes. "There's a lot going on here!" she said. I could feel the energy in the air.
"It's because you have a superstar here!" I told her. She also carries other amazing lines you can't find everywhere in Chicago, like Thakoon, Malandrino, Ruffian, Jeremy Laing, Angelo Tarlazzi, and Casmari.
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The same high energy could be found in Brian Reyes as well, who was also helping customers…measuring tape in hand. I was relieved he was busy, so I could get a hands-on look at all of the runway items I was already familiar with. I was struck with how beautiful the fabrics were, the textures and the drape. That is something that a camera can't often capture.
When I met Brian, he was extremely warm and personable. I'm beginning to think a prerequisite for young successful designers is that they have an outgoing personality that everybody loves!
I had to rave about how gorgeous the fabrics were up close. And then he flattered me back by saying he knew Second City Style. I immediately realized he is extremely sharp and business-minded. He said they want to push their on-line business and currently are available at Shopbop and Saks. However, to try on the clothes, you need to go to Simone's! He pointed out that he really likes working directly with customers and I could see that he built many relationships at Simone's.
SCS: Who is the Brian Reyes woman… what is her age group?
Brian Reyes: She can be anywhere from her late 20's to early 60's.
SCS: I'm in my 40's and I think it looks young and fresh, but not too young for me.
Brian Reyes: In your 40's … it is probably perfect!
SCS: We saw so many different trends for fall, what are the top trends for Fall 2008 in your collection?
Brian Reyes: • Lighter fabrics • Color (we call it Patagonian Arctic hues) • A fuller skirt • Simple shapes, uncomplicated, maybe with a conservative front but then we will have something provocative, like a t-back in the back.
SCS: Oh, I saw that blue grey top in the collection with T-back and I liked it. Women don't want to fuss to much with their clothes worrying about the front!
SCS: What is your favorite piece in your Fall '08 collection?
Brian Reyes: Oh… (he takes a breath and thinks) that's a hard one. (suddenly he is certain) I would be the 4 pocket full dress! Simone is wearing it. And it can be versatile, you can belt it and then it has the look of a full skirt, or put a jacket over it or just wear it.
SCS: I noticed a lot of moiré and sheen and what could be considered evening fabrics in your fall RTW collection. Do you find that women are more comfortable with these looks for day?
Brian Reyes: Yes, we do a lot of fabrics that can go from day to evening. The moiré is a beautiful silk viscose fabric, it is actually an icot pattern but it looks like moiré. It is very organic.
SCS: It seems you don't say "I" it's more like "we"….
Brian Reyes: Well, yes, it is not just me! It is a whole team. I couldn't do it all on my own. I was on my own for 2 years, and three years with the business.
SCS: What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Brian Reyes: The best advice is not words, it is a motion. It is throwing your hands back like you had something in your hands and you throw it over your shoulders! (he demonstrated as he spoke). It means "Okay, keep it moving, keep it going, don't get stuck!"
SCS: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Brian Reyes: Where we are going is that we will be recognized as a great American brand, with interesting fabrics and design innovations.
After meeting Brian Reyes, all I have to say is – look out Calvin Klein!
Simone's • 1060 Gage Street, Hubbard Woods, Winnetka IL • 847-446-9966
— Carol Calacci