The Spring/Summer 2024 collection of the ever-daring Harris Reed comes alive with an underpinning of nostalgia and a dash of the dramatic, melding the past with a shimmering present. During a preview at his new atelier at 180 The Strand, Reed shared insights into the inspiration behind his latest collection – a serendipitous encounter with childhood drawings and vintage corset patterns that sparked a desire to integrate past structures with his contemporary creations.
The collection showcased within the confines of Tate Modern’s Brutalist basement gallery evokes a blend of simplicity and theatricality. Despite opting for a straightforward runway format, Reed infused the show with his characteristic performance element by featuring British singer Cosima, who entranced the audience with a soul-stirring rendition of Radiohead’s “Creep.”
Ashley Graham, a figurehead in the modeling world, inaugurated the show, elegantly descending the runway in a body-contouring black velvet dress intricately adorned with micro beads, which glistened as a corset bustier. As the show progressed, a series of monochromatic ensembles emerged, meticulously crafted from black velvet and ivory duchesse satin, and festooned with micro beads. The choice of satin for the more voluminous designs occasionally proved unforgiving under the spotlight, especially when considering the dynamics of movement. However, the exaggerated boning details incorporated into the same fabric lent a considerable sense of elevation to the garments.
Reed’s trademark elements were discernible throughout the ten looks presented, from the cinched waists and dramatic fishtail hems to the architectural features that seemed to defy gravity. Surprisingly, the hats that have become synonymous with Reed’s brand were noticeably absent, save for one exception – an oversized bowler hat resplendent with black feathers.
The climax of the show was a tantalizing peekaboo dress that elicited gasps from the audience as the model pivoted, unveiling a daringly low-rise back – a subtle homage to Alexander McQueen’s iconic “bumster” trousers. Backstage, Reed expounded on the piece, remarking, “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.”
©Photo: Harris Reed