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A Mexican’s couture is born in Berne

            Javier Reyes sits at the back of his atelier where his creations are conceived. He kneels on the floor whilst the seamstress quietly continues her work at the table alongside. The catwalk video shows his latest collection; long-legged models stride in beautiful silken dresses in shades of russet gold cottons and blue batik silks. Javier makes a momentary entry at the end of the show on the laptop screen; he takes a quick bow before he disappears behind the scene. He seems modest. His behaviour seems to demonstrate that he is not a prima donna designer, in it for the razzmatazz, lights and celebrity, but rather a personality who is passionate about what he does.

It is fascinating that at such a young age Javier Reyes was already inexplicably drawn towards designing and making clothes. He recounts that as a young boy he loved to hand sew clothes for his action men toys rather than play football with his contemporaries in the street. Already early in his life, when most children have no idea whatsoever in which direction they would like to go as adults, Javier had an inner knowledge that his destiny was to be a fashion designer.

 

He tells of the journey from Mexico City as a young, impressionable man, to the bright light cities of New York and Los Angeles and later on to European soil, surviving by making and selling his accessories and clothes as he travelled. In 1989, he eventually found himself in Berne, the small, idyllic Swiss city that has been his base for three decades already.

Though Javier’s designs are made ‘in the moment’, he says that he tries to transcend flashy fashion trends. He uses the highest quality, natural fabrics which are sourced from across the world and sold in huge fabric fares in Paris. He favours fabrics that are soft to the touch and that caress the skin and is inspired by the innate qualities of the cloth; the way each one catches the light and the way it falls and moves with the movement of the wearer. Some of his materials are imprinted with embossed patterns and others have an unusual weave. There is always something intrinsically unusual about the quality of the materials he chooses. Rather than starting with a strongly defined concept, Reyes tells me that he allows intuition and the subconscious to guide his hand as he designs. He likes to try and convey subtle moods and emotions to create a symbiotic harmony between the wearer and the garment. His understanding of the female form is shown in the three-dimensionality of his designs; the way in which the handcrafted pieces enclose the female form ‘in-the-round’.

He says that he likes his creations to have a subtle suggestion of sensuality with a hint of melancholy. One could say that the sophistication and complexity of his pieces reflect his clients, who travel from far and wide to commission him for a tailor-made garment that fits their unique dimensions. It is a niche market though; his collections are certainly not for the average purse. Luckily he lives in one of the wealthiest countries on the planet; there are enough people in Switzerland who do not even bat an eye at spending the high prices his garments cost.

        Despite his success, it seems that Javier Reyes is not at all complacent; he remains critical and continues to question his own work, striving to push his boundaries. He is a fortunate to have had such a clear vision of his path in life, to be able to pursue his dream and to find fulfilment in what he loves to do, day after day and year after year.

Javier Reyes’ works in a small team usually with his assistant, all his creations are entirely made by hand.

Javier’s favourite:

food:
Mole, a traditional Mexican dish made with organic chicken and chocolate sauce.

book :
La Tempestad by Juan Manuel de Prada (The perfect portrait of Venice)
Axel Vervoordt, Wabi Inspirations (Interior design guru Vervoordt shares inspirations for home)

place:
The bar at Les Trois Rois
Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois
Blumenrain 8
4001 Basel
+41 61 260 50 50

Javier Reyes Atelier
Kochergasse 4
3011 Berne
+41 31 312 75 66

 

VISIT JAVIER REYES