New York Fashion Week ended all of two minutes ago, and a 26-year-old has boldly diverted our attention across the pond.
Harris Reed — the American Central Saint Martins grad of Harry Styles-in-Vogue-in-a-ball-gown fame — kicked off London Fashion Week Thursday night with an intimate presentation at Saint John the Evangelist Church featuring live vocals from Sam Smith. It was only Reed's second-ever show, and yet the designer's latest demi-couture offering had the elaborate unveiling of a seasoned fashion vet. Reed's cultural relevance, coupled with a sartorial vision that sees the beauty of gender fluidity, has contributed to the industry's fascination with the young creative. And with increased interest comes opportunities (Reed's already collaborated with Dolce & Gabbana, Etro and Missoma) and better resources: For this February 2022 line, Reed graduated from developing the garments at school or at home, and designed for the first time from a fully functioning studio. The appropriate workroom lends the demi-couture creations a sense of refinement, allowing Reed to hone and evolve various techniques.
Titled "60 Years a Queen" after Sir Herbert Maxwell's 1897 book about Queen Victoria, the collection boasts monarchic details rendered in rich jewel tones and with decadent lace tailoring. Reed expands on the concept by linking monarchic and coronation wardrobes to the modern-day club-kid scene.
"This isn't so much a direct interpretation of the British monarchy's sartorial inclination, but instead a look at how the club-kid scene has long borrowed, loaned and built upon the regal wardrobe," the collection notes read. "Whether that's in necklines of ruffs, masks and takes on ceremonial crowns or through evocative Elizabethan-era painted faces."
In designing for queer interpretations of kings and queens, Reed confidently plays with proportion and volume. The result is the perfect glam-rock flared trousers, bold fishtail skirts and giant bow garnishes that keep their shape throughout the night. Reed worked with Vivienne Lake to perfect the now-signature wide-brim headpieces and introduce new towering head toppers; the designer also collaborated with artist Cassie Rendle on a half-male, half-female torso chest piece.
Continuing Reed's commitment to sustainable practices, the collections upcycles 100-year-old upholstery fabrics donated by the Italian Bussandri family' to give life to the regal vision; the designer also sourced deadstock sequins from a London supplier, and reused and handpainted each feather from the Dolce & Gabbana Met Gala look that Reed helped create for Iman.
See the Harris Reed February 2022 collection in the gallery below.