It’s hard to imagine now, but two-and-a-half years ago, Harris Reed hadn’t even released a collection. A graduate of the 2020 class of Central Saint Martins, Reed has enjoyed a career trajectory that is almost singular in its stratospheric growth. In February 2021, only a few months after graduating, Harry Styles wore Reed’s design for his instantly iconic Vogue cover. Six months’ later, Reed’s namesake label launched its first collection, a feat that was accompanied by a 5,000-word profile in The New Yorker. In 2022 Reed’s work was selected for an illustrious menswear exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. And last September, the 26-year-old was tapped to helm the esteemed Parisian fashion house Nina Ricci (he will unveil his first collection in Paris early next month).
So it goes without seeing that Reed’s London Fashion Week show last night was met with a certain amount of anticipation. Set at the Tate Modern, Florence Pugh—a friend and muse of Reed’s—served as unofficial emcee of the night’s proceedings, resplendent in a sequin and velvet gown with a giant halo-style headpiece. “Clothing has a transformative power,” Florence explained to the crowd. “Whether for an actor or simply a performer on the stage of life, the art of dressing up allows us to express who we truly are, creating a safe space to inhabit in a sometimes judgemental world.” That theme—the transformative power of costumes—was a clear motif for Fall Winter ’23. Reed chose to show a hyper-curated edit of 10 looks, each inspired by the William Shakespeare quote: “All the world’s a stage.”
Couture-like in their attention to detail and otherworldly splendour, pieces featured harlequin prints made of sequin, oversized sculptural headpieces finished in black velvet, and sumptuous bubble hem details in gold lamè. Old theatre curtains were upcycled to make the fabric for some of the dresses. Reed’s huge popularity is rooted, in part, to his refreshing refusal to adhere to a strict gender binary. Case in point: his old friend Harry Styles debuting Reed’s first Nina Ricci collection at the Brit Awards last week. The sharp black velvet suit featured an oversized satin lapel, flattering flare cut leg, and a giant floral necklace—and it looked just as great on Mr. Styles as it inevitably will on a model next week. For his namesake label’s latest outing, Reed blurred the lines once again: this time between clothes for real life and clothing as fantasy. When the end result looks this good, who wants to live in reality?