N.Y. Fashion Week: Billy Reid makes a blanket statement

NEW YORK -- Billy Reid staged his fall and winter 2014 menswear collection in the Refectory of the High Line Hotel here Sunday, a cavernous Gothic hall with vaulted ceilings, ornate stained glass windows and an almost museum-like vibe, a space that was once the communal dining hall of an Episcopalian seminary.

Inspiration: Backstage before the show, Reid said that many of the textures and fabrications in the collection were a result of a project to make blankets for his shops.

"As we started to experiment with some of the looms and play around with some of the weights and textures, we found that we were able to take some of the artwork we were working with and do them in whole new ways."

"[For the artwork] we worked with the idea of the prints being almost like they were under glass -- like botanicals.  I'd found this fox that was encased in this kind of weird glass when I was in Nashville," Reid explained. "It was this crazy thing and I should have bought it but my wife would have said 'No way.' So I was kind of thinking of that and this branch with all these little birds perched on it that was inside a glass bottle."

The look: While the fox, and to a lesser degree the birds, were recurring motifs playing cat-and-mouse throughout the collection (most visibly on the faux-emblazoned sweaters and allover-print shirts) the real star of the show here were the blanket-weight pieces, including jackets that draped like cardigan sweaters, cardigans crafted from shearling, and a brushed plaid long coat that looked comfortable enough to sleep in.

Verdict: If this is the result of Reid experimenting with texture and fabrication (a continuation, by the way, of efforts that began for the spring and summer 2014 collection) we're all for the designer to keep moving into uncharted territory because the super-soft, super-luxe and super-handsome results suit him like a brushed plaid blanket coat.