For many a moon, I harbored quite the girl crush on Jenny Lewis. I used to think it was those auburn bangs and the special way she had with profanity. But in retrospect, what I really pined for was her wardrobe, the seemingly endless procession of thigh-skimming vintage dresses, sailor rompers, and over-the-knee socks (part Marcia Brady, part Dusty Springfield, with an occasional nod to high fashion). It took me several years to realize that my schoolgirl crush was misdirected. I should have been pining after the lady behind the looks, Ms. Jenny Reyes. The LA-based stylist has been making custom pieces for Rilo Kiley since her own fangirl days, sharpened her skills at Rodarte, and is now working on Geronimo, her own Gidget-inspired line of high-waisted shorts and retro bathing suits. So for this week's installment of "Dear Fancy Fashion Person," I invited her to talk about the intersection of music and fashion and the challenges of being a young, independent designer.
NB: How many outfits do most bands bring out on tour, and how do you stop them from getting disgusting what with the lack of laundry time and all?
JR: When I went on tour with Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins, the girls had about 5 dresses and the boys had 1-3 outfits to rotate through. Luckily for us, we didn’t have any problems with smell due to the wonders of Febreeze.
NB: How did you get your start working with Rilo Kiley?
JR: When I was in high school, my friend and I would sneak in to Spaceland in LA to see Rilo Kiley play (it's a 21+club, so I'd have to borrow my sister’s ID). Blake befriended me, and we’ve been friends ever since. I started off making Jenny deconstructed tee shirts (I swear those were cool back in the day!). Then our friendship just blossomed.
NB: As a young designer launching your first line, have you had to do everything--sketches, textile design, construction, publicity, etc.—on your own?
JR: When a young designer starts their own line, they generally have to do everything themselves, unless you have a partner to share the workload. I don't have a partner on Geronimo, but I’ve been really fortunate, everything has come to me like gifts from the universe. I had a vision and was able to use money from my last tour with Rilo Kiley to get things started. I knew I wanted to use vintage fabric--that was the hardest part for me. I got a pattern maker and a sample maker and the rest is history.
So, what questions do you have for our panel of fancies? We've got a string of editors, photographers, models, and designers. Put your questions in the comments field below, and we'll do our best to dig up an answer!
Last week's fancy: Style.com party reporter Darrell Hartman on Madonna madness, Valentino's clumsiness and why noone gets drunk at fashion soirees.