We talk to Harris Reed about designing clothes for Harry and his new collection ‘The Lost Romantic Boys Of The Edwardian Summer Holiday’
- TextTed Stansfield
We last met Harris Reed off the back of Central Saint Martins’ ‘White Show’, where he’d caused a stir with his one-look collection inspired by a young gay aristocrat living in 18th-century London. Since then, he’s continued to go from strength to strength: the 21-year-old’s clothes have been featured in numerous magazines (including AnOther) and, most recently, worn by Harry Styles on his world tour – which he’s still buzzing off.
Harry Styles Wearing Harris Reed
Taking to the stage in Amsterdam just under two weeks ago, the musician wore “a bespoke Italian cream three-tier ruffled blouse with bespoke black Venetian wool exaggerated flares with hidden cream Italian silk under flare” – the result of a “collaborative” rapport between him and Reed. “It’s been quite overwhelming,” the designer admits, speaking over the phone from Heathrow where he’s about to board a flight to his native Los Angeles. “Almost every morning I have 1200 to 2000 DMs from his fans being like ‘so happy to see Harry pushing this forward’.”
Reed’s introduction to Styles came through the musician’s stylist, Harry Lambert, who had been following the designer’s work for a while and was in fact the first stylist to call in his clothes for a fashion shoot. He organised a meeting and the pair really hit it off – the rest is history. As well as facilitating this introduction, Lambert has styled Reed’s ‘The Lost Romantic Boys Of The Edwardian Summer Holiday’ collection, which is premiered here, exclusively here.
The idea for this collection came to Reed while he was on a beach where he’d spent a lot of his youth, near to where his grandparents lived before they passed away. Here, he created a narrative of “lost romantic boys like finding their salvation”. “Then, while I was in LA with Harry,” he explains, “I went downtown and bought all these fabrics. I didn’t even know what the clothes were going to look like, but I bought fabrics that I really thought would most speak to me. I had some leftover money from doing Harry’s clothes and literally every last penny went towards it. It felt like such an organic thing, going from one project to the next.”
To shoot the collection, Reed enlisted one of his favourite photographers, Jack Davison, who he says “was genuinely excited about the pieces”. “It was more than I could have ever asked for,” he enthuses, “because it not only portrays the clothes but the atmosphere that I want for my future namesake label.” This atmosphere is one of romance – where an old world approach to couture meets modern-day attitudes to gender. In these images, Reed’s epicene muses are wrapped in sequins and tulle, their faces masked by birdcage veils and topped wide-brimmed hats which have become one of Reed’s trademarks.
The designer has lots more projects under way, though he can’t speak about them just yet. While he’s busy and tired (his coffee intake has apparently increased to seven cups a day) he’s just happy doing what he loves. “I came out as being gay at nine and was really bullied for it, but the one thing that always kept me going, as cliché as it sounds, was the fact that I was like, I'm gonna have a career in fashion and that's going to be my salvation. Obviously it’s the very, very beginning, but getting Harry’s recognition and support is so validating – and completely worth the lack of sleep.”