American designer Billy Reid grew up in Amite, Louisiana, just south of the Mississippi border. He attended Southeastern Louisiana University, then Art Institute of Dallas and studied fashion design and merchandising. While still at the Art Institute, he started working for Saks Fifth Avenue. Then he worked for six years at Reebok International, travelling across the globe for the first collections of Greg Norman. He started his own company in 1995 and launched his first collection in Spring 1998. He moved to Florence, Alabama almost a decade ago in a former turn-of-the-century bookstore. Last season, multiple award winner Billy Reid showed in a bustling room on the eighth floor of Milk Studios. This time it was the penthouse. Hard not to read a little something into that. The man's star is on the rise, and he knows he's got more eyes on him than ever before. Make no mistake : he didn't disappoint. The menswear on show was classic BR : masculine suiting mixed with more workmanly pieces, cut on the slightly looser side —a little rope in the shoulder and a slight boot-cut to the pants. Billy Reid's fabrics are those of traditional menswear : wool and tweed, camelhair and moleskin, cotton and cord, cashmere and lambskin. He's not above a luscious (if subtle) flourish, like a formal dinner jacket in un-dyed velvet, but his aesthetics is masculine and untrendy. Like the designer himself, it's tried-and-true. The designer did himself a service by refining the Southern twang of his show, which always resided as much in the spirit and the staging of his work as in the clothes themselves. That even extended to the set, pared down this season from the mud-and-all Alabama haul-in antique doors and weathered floorboards he used to use. Here, the sparer environment refocused attention on the clothes (including, for the first time in a Reid presentation, a few women's looks, which had a slinky appeal of their own). The one potential quibble is that the offering might have been a bit too tried-and-true; this wasn't a season marked by change. But perhaps that's just how Billy Reid needs it to be right now, given that plenty of the visitors dropping in are playing catch-up to his work. The South, where he has several stores, has been on the bandwagon for years. He showed the best of what he does. But here's the tricky thing about the spotlight : next season, people will be clamoring to see the next twist in the tale. A new stylist will tell.