At a preview just days before his show, Harris Reed was quick-witted as he elaborated on the thinking behind his spring collection. His new atelier at 180 The Strand was buzzing with his small team diligently cutting and hand stitching champagne-hued micro beads. “While I was packing and moving, I stumbled upon some of my childhood drawings—I was struck by the lines and dramatic silhouettes, which resonates with my current work,” he reflected. “Then, I found vintage corset patterns at Ladbroke Grove market and wanted to combine that with the structures I was dreaming up.”
Skipping ahead to the show, set within Tate Modern’s Brutalist basement gallery space, the designer opted for a straightforward runway format. Still, in keeping with his larger-than-life persona—he boasts a devoted Instagram following of 1 million and counting—there was indeed a performance element. This time, British singer Cosima took the stage, captivating the audience with a haunting rendition of Radiohead’s 1993 cult-favorite “Creep.”
The spectacle commenced with model Ashley Graham slowly gliding down the runway in a figure-hugging black velvet dress adorned with those aforementioned micro beads, shimmering as a corset bustier. As the show unfolded, a series of monochromatic ensembles in varying silhouettes crafted from black velvet and ivory duchesse satin, embellished with micro beads, made their appearance. Reed’s choice of stretching satin for the more expansive designs could be unforgiving in the light at times, particularly when factoring in movement. The magnified boning details applied onto the same fabric added a substantial sense of elevation, though.
Across all ten looks, the designer’s signatures were evident, from cinched waists and dramatic fishtail hems to architectural elements extending away from the body. Notably absent, however, were the hats for which he has gained fame, with one exception: An exaggerated bowler resplendent with black feathers.
The show’s climax featured a tantalizing peekaboo dress that left the audience gasping as the model turned around, revealing a daring low-rise back—a ‘bumster’ moment, if you will. Reed explained the piece backstage, saying, “We had to have a little nod to McQueen, because I feel like London is a little sad lately, and the world is getting intense, so I wanted to reference one of the greats that was here before us.”