Joanne Cordero Reyes, the creative powerhouse behind Vicente Villarin, is a woman of accolades. Each one of the SoCal-born, New York City transplant’s gowns is like a dream come true -- delicate, timeless, romantic and awe-inspiring.
The Parsons graduate, who was nominated as one of the top 10 designers of her class, went on to design evening wear, luxury and bridal collections for Reem Acra, J. Mendel and Monique Lhuillier. Vicente Villarin has been named one of the Top 10 New Designers by Style.com and one of the Top Five by New York magazine. Most recently, Carolina Herrera has enlisted her talents. A very huge deal, indeed.
Here, Joanne gives us a quick tour of her New York, a list of travel essentials, fashion must-haves and much more.
If you could have two hours with any designer, living or dead, who would it be?
Christian Dior … when real glamour was born. My most favorite Dior evening piece – one that will always take my breath away – is the Junon dress.
What’s your New York shopping ritual?
Every now and then, I’ll end up at Chuckie’s and do damage on shoes. I like to go for a walk or run when the city is quiet and pass the boutique windows along upper Madison Avenue. I tend to end up standing in front of Bergdorf Goodman, admiring the window displays. It’s something I’ve been doing since the day I first moved to New York.
What’s the first thing that you ever designed?
This is going to sound really cheesy. I was maybe 7 years old. For a class project, we had to draw and use watercolor. Out of nowhere – I just drew all these killer whales and the ocean and I brushed over it. … I finish, and I have all the paint on my hands – and it was the best feeling in the world. [My teacher put my work up] on the wall, and I [couldn’t stop] staring at it. That’s when I knew I wanted to be an artist. That’s the first thing I ever “created.”
Do you have any wardrobe or lifestyle must-haves?
My black tights. My stilettos. My eyeliner.
Give us a quick tour of your New York.
I love food and have so many favorite restaurants in New York. I adore La Mangeoire – great great atmosphere and South of France cooking – Raoul’s, and Balthazar or Pastis. I love the lighting and having a nice dinner with a glass of wine. For brunch, Café Joul; I adore their pastries. My friends and I go back to Ali Baba for great Turkish food every now and then and pretend to know how to read our fortunes from the Turkish coffee cups. Macaroon Café is a cute French place in the middle of fashion-district chaos.
I also like to take a stroll along Madison Square Park. I really like how it is the center of madness and can be quiet at certain times of the day. But I have to say, when I find the time, my personal retreat is Fort Tryon Park, which overlooks the Hudson River. The garden is beautiful and the Cloisters are amazing.
What are your travel essentials?
Research before you go! Not always, actually. If you’re going to a touristy place, of course you’re going to want to see all of it. But it’s also just kind of fun to get off the plane and discover and get lost for a while. There’s one thing I always do, wherever I may go. For a day, I like to pretend that I’m a local. I go into the grocery store, see what food they sell and watch how people carry themselves. Even bread – it’s different everywhere! I just love taking that all in.
Can you talk a little bit more about your grandfather – who your line is named after …
He composed classical music; he was a pianist. … He had a band that he would travel with; he went to Italy and Paris and Rome and Shanghai. He taught me that as long as you do what you love, you’ll always be happy.
Click here to view the collection.