There was perhaps no better way to kick off London Fashion Week Fall 2021—the first gender-fluid LFW iteration in its history—than with Harris Reed’s runway debut. It’s hard to believe that 24-year-old Reed—who boasts a M.A.C cosmetics contract, 285,000 followers, and celebrity fans like Miley Cyrus and Harry Styles—only graduated from Central Saint Martins last year. To many, he is already a household name.
Thus, his Fashion Week debut had a lot riding on it—you only get one chance to make a first impression after all, but predictably, Reed delivered in droves.
The collection was quasi-couture, six skilfully tailored masterworks that deftly blended the ever-irrelevant lines between menswear and womenswear.
A cropped black tuxedo jacket is stitched with a waterfall of dip-dyed pleated tulle—a black satin skirt dovetails into a mermaid hem with frothy pink layers.
Reed—who grew up in the United States and moved to London to take up a place at the CSM—took inspiration from his adopted city. In accompanying show notes he revealed the collection aimed to “unite the anarchy of the punk movement with the debutantes and their dressmakers who define Britain’s aristocratic past”. Think: the Sex Pistols meets Bridgerton, complete with marvelous feathered headpieces (hats are something of a Reed staple), and chunky studded platform boots.
The collection—lensed in a striking portfolio series by the brilliant emerging photographer Jenny Brough—represented a thrilling future for British (and global) fashion. In a touching open letter penned to his nine-year-old self, Reed revealed a difficult childhood where he was harassed by small-minded bullies. “I know you can’t imagine it now, when you’re spending your weekends alone dressing up in your room, but one day you will dress the biggest music star of your generation,” he wrote. “After you graduate from Central Saint Martins during a global pandemic, you will make your debut collection during lockdown and show it as part of the first gender-fluid fashion week in British history. You will always be fighting for the beauty of fluidity because your core belief is that everyone should be able to represent themselves in the most authentic and truest version of who they are.”
We are lucky to bear witness to Reed’s singular, marvellous vision—the best is yet to come.