Harris Reed‘s spactacular debut show took place in the Serpentine Pavilion with a performance by the artist Kelsey Lu, making this experience even more heavenly and as ethereal as the designer’s spotlight-stealing garments. As you may have already gathered, Reed isn’t your average emerging designer. While he was still studying, a chance meeting with the celebrity stylist Harry Lambert earned him a commission for Harry Styles, whose image was made for the fluid romanticism in which Reed deals. The pop star’s 39 million followers kicked in, and just like that, a star was born. As his debut show demonstrated, Reed thrives in the costume territory. He repurposed bridal and groom’s wear sourced from the British charity chain Oxfam into majestic hybrids of gowns and tuxedos, topping them off with enormous spherical headpieces that have become his trademark. The way he cut his dresses was imaginative and resourceful to say the least. Most successful were the ones that showed more silhouette, like a tuxedo jacket chopped into a bolero and elongated with a veil that cascaded like a waterfall, turning it into a dress. The hats made for the most DIY-looking element of the show and could perhaps have done with some less obviously recycled fabrication. But that wasn’t the point. “Everything is about being huge and being seen,” Reed said. It was true for the outfit he created for Iman at last week’s Met Gala. He spent the fittings talking to the supermodel about her late husband David Bowie, who featured heavily on his collection mood boards, and to whom he paid tribute in a striped glam rock suit made out of strips cut from said second-hand finds. Reed shares his Bowie mania with Alessandro Michele, with whom he interned at Gucci for nine months after being invited to be a part of the brand’s roster of cutting-edge cool kids, who get ferried around the world for events. Harris’ “demi-couture”aims to fly the flag for gender fluidity and nonconformity. He’s also an internet sensation and celebrity favorite, which is a major talent in its own right. And he’s only just begun.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.