British-American designer Harris Reed opted for theatrics for his spring 2023 presentation, kicking off London Fashion Week in a dramatic off-schedule runway show.
With his new collection, entitled ‘Mise en Scène’, the young designer challenged conventional gender design codes while drawing inspiration from debutante balls, an aristocratic event in which girls are put on display as they enter society.
For his collection, Reed reimagined the customary female tropes sported at such occasions, with the likes of crinolines, corsets, headpieces and embellishments all adjusted for his take on “new fluid society”, as the press release read.
This was seen in cinched waists, fishtail skirts, oversized bustles and costume jewellery that all encapsulated the demi-couture collection.
Gowns featured exaggerated or distorted silhouettes and inverted structures utilising upturned materials and technically implemented organza.
Headpieces were also injected with drama seen in the array of bluebell, spherical and elongated forms, each of which were created in collaboration with Vivienne Lake.
The event itself was among the limited number of solo runway shows by Reed, who typically strays away from the format in favour of flamboyant presentations, the last of which included a performance by Sam Smith in St John’s Smith Square.
Despite the circumstances – namely Queen Elizabeth II’s death – this season was no exception, with a show that was backed by the appearance of Adam Lambert singing a dialled back version of ‘Nessun Dorma’.
Ahead of the event, the British Fashion Council (BFC) was said to be up in arms about whether to cancel LFW entirely in light of Her Majesty’s passing and in regards to the State Funeral set to be held September 19, falling in the middle of the fashion week schedule.
However, Reed expressed concern over the possible cancellation in a post on Instagram, through which he urged the BFC to respectfully go ahead with the event in support of small brands.
“It has been a challenging two years, in these two years I have been absolutely blown away by how incredibly supportive the fashion community is in London when put through massive challenges,” the designer said in the post.
He continued: “Designers, models, movement directors, casting directors, nail artists, writers have supported one another, lifting one another up. London is a place where community, creativity, and cultivation should always be in the forefront of what we support and nurture.”