Tuesday, March 27, 2018

meet Reed Evins ... YES of the shoe Evins'


In today’s world of fashion there are so few who can rightfully be deemed or described as multi-talented. Reed Evins, although no longer utilizing fashion as his primary means of expression,  remains one of those who I can honestly say is/was a designer who designed meaning he did it all. Reed was not one of those “pointers”, as I call them, who expected everyone else to do his bidding, he did it himself since in fact he was more than well equipped to do so.
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Today he has turned his attention to a sort of literally more artistic method of using one of his many abilities that he retains in his skillset. I called it “art for the masses:” which means affordable art that appeals to a more general public and more recently he has taken up custom pet portraits by means of collage. As most anyone will tell you, pet owners are prone to love their animals as if they are indeed their blood offspring, Reed now gives them the opportunity to capture these pampered members of the family in a sort of moment frozen in time; actually rather ingenious when you think of it.
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At any rate, I have known Reed or known of him for decades as we frequented many of the same notorious dance clubs and events that we boomers of New York City did starting in the 70s.  I am always mindful and thankful to the internet for the opportunity to be reunited with so many who lived through some of the best times in NYC as well as survived some of the worst times that ensued.

So now you get Reed Evins in his own words…..
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Jeffrey Felner: Can you please give us a brief rundown and how you arrived at this point in your career?

 Reed Evins: I graduated from Rhode Island School Of Design. Having always painted and drawn, I opted for the most obvious career ambition which was to follow my destiny in becoming a shoe designer. As a shoe designer, I always sketched my own designs and followed in the footsteps of my illustrious bloodlines by training at Rayne in London and eventually starting my own shoe  company, “Two City Kids” with my sister Melissa as my partner.
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 Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, Reed. I first met Reed on East 58th St ...we were new neighbors.....he was wearing FIVE cashmere berets...all different colors...all staggered so that he looked like rainbow caterpillar....brilliant boy…. Michael Vollbracht:  designer, artist, friend
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JF: Let’s speak of present tense... how did you get involved in this sort of “art for the masses” arena and why?

RE: I have always been intrigued by Warhol’s concept of “Art for the Masses.” Warhol’s first job in Manhattan was illustrating David Evins shoes and as if by some odd quirk of fate, twenty years later Andy would choose me to be his first INTERMAN  for INTERVIEW magazine which was the “it” publication of the era.
Affordable art for everyone was always a dream of mine and it has taken a somewhat circuitous path for me to arrive at this “destination.”
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JF: If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would they be and why?

RE: Dinner for 5 would include the greatest Collection of shoemakers in history:
My uncle, the world famous and legendary David Evins. Sir Edward Rayne shoe maker by appointment to the Queen and the Queen Mother, Royal Shoemaker. Roger Vivier while he was designing in the  Dior years,  Charles Jourdan who was one of the great French shoe designers who catapulted to fame in the 70s and lastly Andre Perugia, the great Italian shoemaker who was probably the greatest shoemaker of them all.


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We still laugh about this today: Dawn Mello had just offered Reed a hat boutique at Bergdorfs. Michael Vollbracht called and asked if he could stop by. “I need a hat!” and arrived within 5 minutes accompanied by a very petite woman. Michael starts with “I made this coat for Elizabeth to wear to the inauguration, and your violet mink hat would be perfect; it matches her eyes "... the petite lady sitting on the edge of Reed’s bed was Elizabeth Taylor! Mom called in the midst of all this and when Reed told her who was here she simply said “oh your such a comedian call me later.” In the end Reed made a magnificent violet "Russian style" mink hat with tassels. The hat and its wearer were widely photographed resulting in Bergdorf’s getting over 200 requests for the hat. Reed had finally "arrived” as the “it” milliner. Melissa Evins: sister, co-designer, confidante
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JF: Did you or do have any style icons or mentors from the past or present that influence your mindset and why?

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 RE: Annette Evins (mom) , when your husband makes all the shoes for Galanos, Norell, Blass, Beene and Hermès. She was surrounded by only “the best” and they all wanted to know her opinion on everything.
Marilyn Evins (aunt)  who was on the Best -Dressed list for 45 years, Hall of Fame. As a PR giant, she was responsible for bringing Valentino and Lacroix to the US. She was also responsible for putting every “First Lady” from Eisenhower to Clinton in Evins shoes 

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JF: Lastly since you are from one of the great bloodlines of the shoe business, do you miss it? Would you ever return to it? And what was the one big lesson you learned from your uncle (David Evins) who was indeed shoe royalty?

 The Evins mantra: “it’s not what you put on a shoe that makes it chic, it’s what you leave off.”
I have never stopped designing shoes, just stopped manufacturing my own shoes. Now I design for others, without the responsibility and headaches of making and shipping orders.