Harris Reed is building a fantasy world for gender-fluid fashion Favorite 



Feb 18 2021


London, England

Last June, Harris Reed became a member of the “Class of 2020” -- the crop of young fashion talent who graduated into an industry on rocky ground due to the pandemic. Over the eight months that have passed since earning his cap and gown at Central Saint Martins, Harris seems to have done a good job of finding his feet. There was, of course, that Harry Styles moment back in November, when the popstar wore a hybrid suit-cum-ballgown designed by Harris -- an artful mash-up of a sharp-shouldered peak-lapelled dinner jacket, a voluminous crinoline decked over with cream tulle, and a huge, flouncy fuchsia satin bow -- on the pages of Vogue.

As big an achievement as that might have been for Harris, today marks the reaching of not one, but two more career milestones. The first is the launch of his beauty collaboration with MAC Cosmetics. The other, and arguably the more sentimental of the two, is the release of ‘For Now, Unexplained’, Harris’ first full collection since graduating from the CSM BA programme.

A continued meditation on gender-fluid dressing and the malleable nature of identity that he began with his graduate collection, it’s a collection that balances a sense of whimsical playfulness with technical rigour. Savile Row tailoring tropes are fused with flamboyant spans of ombré tulle, conveying feelings of fantasy and freedom that couldn’t be more welcome right now. “I want to give people something that's quite far out, a projection of my version of a kind of safe space where I feel comfortable, heard, accepted and loved, and allow people to see how they can create that for themselves in their daily lives,” says Harris.

For your graduate collection, there were some pretty specific historical reference points — Henry Paget, 5th Marquess of Anglesey, for example. Was that the case with this collection?
For me, this collection was kind of a continuation of my graduate collection, and of the exploration of fluidity I started there. Some people have seen my work and been like, 'Oh, so it's dead in the middle between menswear and womenswear?' Or 'Oh, so it’s half-man, half-woman?' And I found this sense of people just not getting it whatsoever so interesting. So I wanted to bring references and techniques traditionally associated with menswear and womenswear together in new ways — the back of a mermaid dress, for example, is tailored to a tee, and features really rich menswear detailing. But then that’s then all mixed in with intricate corseting on the inside. All the pieces bring these archetypical menswear details in the mix, and there's a sense of juxtaposition of 'male' and 'female' — but in a very tongue-in-cheek way.

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