How Harris Reed became the king of gender-fluid fashion

How Harris Reed became the king of gender-fluid fashion

This was Harris Reed's first real show since he graduated from Central Saint Martin's just two years ago, and it was impressive in ambition and scope - Ben Broomfield

This was Harris Reed’s first real show since he graduated from Central Saint Martin’s just two years ago, and it was impressive in ambition and scope – Ben Broomfield

Staging a fashion show is always a tense business. But never more than during a period of mourning, a few days before the state funeral of Britain’s beloved and longest-serving monarch. Ahead of his presentation, designer Harris Reed posted a message on Instagram summarizing the thoughts of his contemporaries about to show at London Fashion Week. “After the news of the queen’s death, it was amazing to see how the community came together,” he wrote. “I hope it instills how important fashion is at times like these. Fashion makes us dream. It brings us joy ”.

Reed’s outfits have certainly brought joy to a slew of celebrities in recent months. Harry Styles wore one of his skirts on the cover of Vogue USA. Adele wore one of her bow-tie blouses in a recent music video. Reed dressed David Bowie’s widow Iman for this year’s Met Gala, and also provided outfits for actresses Emma Watson and Emma Corrin, and pop stars Miley Cyrus and Beyoncé, who appeared on British’s July cover. Vogue sitting on a horse, dressed in one of his signature circular headdresses.

Reed posted on Instagram at the time: “This is for my homosexuals and people who go out into this world being nothing less than who they really are: loud, proud and head spinning using fashion as a weapon for. invoke change, conversation and hope. “

Those who know Reed attest to a charisma that draws people to him like moths to a flame - Dave Benett / Getty Images for Harris Reed

Those who know Reed attest to a charisma that draws people to him like moths to a flame – Dave Benett / Getty Images for Harris Reed

The fact that Reed expresses himself with the same loving conviction as a motivational speaker is just one of the reasons why he is so loved by his fans. At 6 feet 4 inches in his socks and several inches taller in his wedge shoes, 26-year-old Reed is a striking figure who captivates everyone who meets him, including the notoriously hard-to-please Anna Wintour. With an eye to the zeitgeist, Condé Nast’s global director of content acknowledges that Reed’s gender fluidity, and his straightforwardness about it, make him a designer for our times. Like Harry Styles or Timothée Chalamet, Reed’s cheeky use of makeup, dresses, and platform shoes makes him hugely appealing to Generation Z, many of whom find binary definitions of gender both limiting and antiquated.

Part of the reason the Reed star has risen so high in such a short time is because of the ties he has made in Hollywood, where he was raised by his father, Oscar-winning documentary director, Nick (who is British) and his mother. American, Lynette, former model. While never denying that he is a “nepo baby” (Gen Z term for those who have benefited from nepotism by dint of having parents already famous in their chosen field), he also acknowledges that connections can only take a person this far. As he recently stated in an interview: “What keeps me in the room is myself.”

Those who know Reed attest to a charisma that draws people to him like moths to a flame, almost literally, given his thick canopy of copper fire. “Harris just has that star quality. I think he’s the next great British talent, the next Alexander McQueen, ”says Marisa Hordern, founder of the Missoma jewelry brand, who approached Reed last year to design a collection. “One of the pieces we created was a butterfly necklace, because the butterfly embodies both sexes and is very fluid.”

26-year-old Reed is a striking figure who fascinates everyone who meets him: Ben Broomfield

26-year-old Reed is a striking figure who fascinates everyone who meets him: Ben Broomfield

Fashion has been trying to grease “the next Alexander McQueen” since the designer tragically passed away in 2010 at the height of his talent at the age of 40. On the surface, there are similarities between McQueen and Reed: they both have a knack for high theater, and excel at shows that pack an emotional punch. Like McQueen, Reed loves historical references, tailoring and corsetry, although he would probably be the first to admit that, at 26, he has a long way to go before becoming proficient in the art of tailoring like McQueen. He would also admit that society accepts homosexuality and gender fluidity more than in the 1990s, when McQueen was just starting out.

If McQueen struggled with his sexuality, Reed is more comfortable with hers. McQueen’s muses were women like former model Annabel Nielson and Isabella Blow, Reed’s are people like him, less defined by their gender. “I’m very fluid and I still love that concept, but I hate the idea that there is now a ‘gender fluid’ category,” she recently told Soho House magazine. “Are we just making another box?”

Thursday night’s presentation was Reed’s first real show since he graduated from Central Saint Martin’s just two years ago, and it was impressive in ambition and scope. Held in the gothic surroundings of Dutch Hall, a Grade II listed church in the City of London, the show was filled with the exaggerated proportions for which Reed is best known and which echo such presence on magazine covers, red carpets and social media. .

Reed's show was concluded by Adam Lambert singing Queen's Who Wants To Live Forever - Dave Benett / Getty Image

Reed’s show was concluded by Adam Lambert singing Queen’s Who Wants To Live Forever – Dave Benett / Getty Image

Entitled “Mise en Scène”, the collection explored the performative nature of dressing, using the codes of a debutante dance. Ball gowns with crinoline skirts were reversed, the models’ corset waist seemed even tighter to be offset by volumes of silk organza. The hats, by longtime collaborator Vivienne Lake, have Reed’s typical spherical shapes that act as halos to draw attention to the wearer’s faces.

With the queen’s sad death in mind, it was hard not to imagine royal fabrics – velvet, duchess satin and silk – as tributes, an idea enhanced by their rich color scheme of peacock and royal blue.

The latest outing, the bride, clutching a bouquet of lilies of the valley – the queen’s favorite flower – was another tribute, as was Adam Lambert singing Queen’s Who Wants To Live Forever, a show that made Reed’s mother shed at least one tear. . If the show is to go on, Reed’s was as sensitive iteration as any, cementing his reputation for the “fluid fashion” that his fans love so much.

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