Harris Reed, a graduate from Central Saint Martins, has been making waves in the fashion industry. His appointment as the creative director of Nina Ricci last September solidified his position as a rising star in the industry. Gone are the days when a traditional design studio education was the only ticket to success. Today, it is a strong online presence and social media fluency that are the most important metrics for success in the fashion world. Harris Reed’s significant following on social media gave him the platform he needed to skip the usual years of on-the-job training and land a front man position.
The invitation to Harris Reed’s debut collection at Nina Ricci featured a whimsical painting of a lamb and a pink apple, reminiscent of the iconic apple-shaped bottle of the French house’s best-selling Nina fragrance. This painting set the tone for Reed’s collection, which was a perfect balance of old and new. The collection was inspired by the Ricci archives, yet it was true to Reed’s own unique style, with a gender-fluid cast and eye-catching cartwheel hats topping off the colorful outfits.
The collection was heavily influenced by the 80s, as teased by Reed’s red carpet look for British actress Florence Pugh at the BAFTA awards. The show opened with Precious Lee in a black polka-dot lampshade dress and a massive bow, followed by Omahyra Mota in a pink feather version. The models made their way down the runway in giant hoop skirts, some in thick black-and-white stripes reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn’s costumes in “My Fair Lady“. Despite the brief from the brand’s managing director to make sure the clothes were practical enough for everyday wear, Reed’s vision was to dial it down and focus on showcasing the clothes.
The most wearable pieces in the collection were the suits, with wide lapels and flared pants, stretched to extra-long proportions thanks to platform shoes. Reed’s goal is to make these suits not only stylish but also affordable and available in an extended range of sizes, starting with a US size 14 in the first season and eventually expanding to size 18 and beyond. Although the shoes were designed to give the models a boost, they sometimes had the opposite effect, making the models walk in a couture-like saunter that felt out of sync with the upbeat soundtrack.
Reed’s design process is all about making a statement and being in people’s faces. He wants to magnify people’s beauty with big silhouettes, bright colors, and different textures and materials. As a queer kid growing up in Arizona, Reed saw Paris fashion as an escape, and now that he’s here, he wants to bring diversity to the local fashion scene and create a new Nina family.