Don’t fall in love with the crackled leather armchair while you’re trying on that linen jacket at the new Billy Reid shop that opened last week in Georgetown.
The chair is not for sale.
Neither are the perfectly faded Oriental rugs, carved gold frames, crystal decanters or crystal chandeliers. (Selling the store’s furnishings would cause chaos on the floor, Reid says, as some pieces are hard to replace.) His arrangements of vintage furnishings and architectural artifacts are the perfect setting for his comfortably stylish men’s and women’s clothing at all of his 10 stores. If you go into a dressing room in the upper-level made-to-measure department here, you’ll feel like you’re in an elegantly appointed dressing room in an old New Orleans townhouse.
The Southern charm of Reid, whose fashion business is based in Florence, Ala., has transformed the former Pizzeria Uno at 3211 M St. NW into a multi-level store with exposed brick walls and reclaimed patchwork wood floors. “Each store has a different feel,” says Reid, who was named Council of Fashion Designers Best Menswear Designer of the Year in 2012. In finishing the interiors of the shop, staffers picked up a number of pieces locally at Goodwood and the Georgetown Flea Market as well as Caravati’s Architectural Salvage in Richmond.
“When we started our stores, we had find a way to furnish them,” Reid says. He and his wife took pieces out of their own 1890 Victorian house and just kept rotating them. “This evolved into a way for us to keep the stores interesting and hospitable,” Reid says. It does get confusing. Sometimes, Reid says, they lose track of favorite pieces. “ ‘What happened to that chair?’ ‘Oh, I think it’s in D.C. now.’ ”