Photograph by Danilo Hess
Joanne Cordero Reyes was born in Southern California in 1981. Growing up, she sketched cartoons at age six and by age nine, she knew how to hand embroider and hand sew garments. She remembers watching clients shop with clippings of their dream gowns at her family's women's boutique in Southern California, which lead to designing for the boutique's custom made clients. Later on, she learned to appreciate the symmetry and grandeur of architecture, and began her studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. She realized in her first year of college, she was sketching clothes after class, not buildings and soon after pursued her true passion and moved to New York City in 2000 to attend Parsons School of Design.
During Parsons, Joanne worked in sales at a women's boutique and interned for top New York design houses such as Vivienne Tam, Jill Stuart, House of Diehl, and Maggie Norris Couture. In 2002, Reyes landed her first freelance designer position for the Ji Haye Fall 2003 Haute Couture collection while still a student, studying abroad in Paris. At the completion of her studies, she was nominated as one of the Top Ten Designers of her class and named one of America's Next Designers by Fashion Week Daily.
Upon graduation, she became both a freelance designer for the Reem Acra Spring 2005 evening wear collection and joined J. Mendel as Designer for the evening and luxury ready-to-wear collections. By the end of 2006, Joanne moved to Los Angeles to design for the Monique Lhuillier Fall 2007 luxury ready to wear and Spring 2008 Bridal collections.
Throughout this exposure, she nurtured a desire to design her own label. Inspired by the tenacity and talent of her maternal grandfather, a well-traveled music composer who came to New York City in 1971, Reyes launched her line named after him—VICENTE VILLARIN. If Villarin's passion for his music and determination inspire her, so do architecture, music and fine art. Reyes describes her clothes as graceful and timeless; the VICENTE VILLARIN woman is "sophisticated yet edgy, classic yet modern—a certain kind of lost, old-world romanticism." Her delicate, timeless pieces have managed to catch the attention of fashion and women's magazines all over the world and have also been worn by celebrities such as Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alicia Witt, Freida Pinto, Christina Ricci, and Joanna Garcia of CW's "Privileged" and "Gossip Girl." The collections have been bought by prestigious stores and custom made orders have also been placed by clients, internationally.Under the label VICENTE VILLARIN, Joanne Cordero Reyes has been named one of the Top Ten New Designers by Style.com and one of the Top Five Designers to Watch by New York Magazine. And most recently, VICENTE VILLARIN was named one of Gen Art's 2009 Fresh Faces in Fashion.