Har­ris Reed’s “glam-rock Vic­to­ri­ana” aes­thetic.

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Contents -

“I want to com­pletely blur the lines of gen­der and chal­lenge pre­con­ceived no­tions of sex­u­al­ity and the way women and men should dress.”

When BAZAAR calls Har­ris Reed, he’s up to his el­bows in se­quins and lamé in a vin­tage fab­ric store in down­town Los An­ge­les. “Tonnes and tonnes of se­quins and lamés — it’s so deca­dent and glam,” Reed says, cheer­fully. You could say the same of his de­signs, which fuse glam-rock an­drog­yny à la Marc Bolan and David Bowie with kitsch-in­fused Ed­war­dian and Vic­to­rian in­flu­ences via Os­car Wilde and Tilda Swin­ton’s Or­lando. think New Ro­man­tic bell sleeves, sheer flares with 14-cen­time­tre plat­form boots, or per­haps a satin high-neck ruf­fled shirt dwarfed by a fly­ing-saucer-sized Bo Peep hat tied at the neck with a vel­vet rib­bon. “It’s A

Mid­sum­mer Night’s Dream for mil­len­ni­als,” Reed of­fers. “glam-rock vic­to­ri­ana with a bit of dark­ness and loads of toss­ing of the hair and at­ti­tude.”

That at­ti­tude cap­tured the at­ten­tion of Harry Styles, who de­buted a Har­ris Reed three-tier ivory ruf­fled blouse and black wool-and-silk flares on­stage in Am­s­ter­dam in March, hav­ing com­mis­sioned Reed for his 2018 world tour wardrobe. Soon af­ter­wards, Gucci creative di­rec­tor Alessan­dro Michele saw Reed wear­ing his own de­signs in a mag­a­zine and cast him in Gucci’s cruise 2019 show in Ar­les, France. Not only did Reed walk the run­way in the Alyscamps, a Ro­man burial ground, in a ki­mono-style coat, a glit­tery shirt and glasses, but he was also in­vited to take over the Gucci In­sta­gram ac­count, which he flooded with his sig­na­ture honey-drip­ping ex­cess. Not a bad start for a 22-yearold in only his sec­ond year at Lon­don’s Cen­tral Saint Mar­tins.

“The past few months have been crazy, and I hon­estly wake up some morn­ings just cry­ing, but in a pos­i­tive way,” he says. “i get about 100 DMS ev­ery day from young boys and girls ev­ery­where from Aus­tralia to Ken­tucky who are strug­gling with their [gen­der] iden­tity, and it re­ally means so much to know I’m help­ing peo­ple. For me, it was never just about the clothes, it was about the mes­sage. I want to com­pletely blur the lines of gen­der and chal­lenge pre­con­ceived no­tions of sex­u­al­ity and the way women and men should dress.”

It’s an ap­proach Styles was on­board with from the get-go af­ter the pop star’s long­time stylist, Harry Lam­bert, in­tro­duced him to Reed at a gig. “i made it clear to Harry that I’m con­stantly fight­ing for a cause as an ad­vo­cate of the LGBTI com­mu­nity and that if he just wanted a beau­ti­ful piece of cloth­ing, he should go to some­one else,” Reed says. “It was re­ally in­cred­i­ble to see some­one who, for me, is one of the most in­flu­en­tial peo­ple of my gen­er­a­tion care so much about my story and sup­port what I wanted to do.”

Mix­ing with the likes of Styles and Michele is a long way from Reed’s up­bring­ing in Ari­zona, USA, where he was bul­lied af­ter com­ing out at the age of nine. “when you are be­ing called a fag­got and all kinds of ter­ri­ble things, it’s a dark place, but I now see that as my lighter fuel that I use to blaze a brighter trail from my past ex­pe­ri­ences,” he says. “i al­ways knew the trans­for­ma­tive power cloth­ing has in re­la­tion to the hu­man body, so I de­cided to spark a con­ver­sa­tion about gen­der.”

Reed, who is on a gap year, has al­ready been tapped for a num­ber of col­lab­o­ra­tions in 2019, to be fol­lowed by the launch of his own la­bel. He de­scribes him­self as “1000 per cent an ac­tivist” for gen­der flu­id­ity, and ar­gues that cre­atives must en­gage with so­cial and po­lit­i­cal is­sues. “I think any­one cre­at­ing to­day has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to chal­lenge things that are hap­pen­ing po­lit­i­cally and con­trib­ute with their own mes­sage,” he says. “i can’t just do a cute top. there needs to be a whole story be­hind it that is pro­mot­ing some kind of pos­i­tive change.”

WHEN KARENWALKER was lit­tle, her par­ents took her to Dis­ney­land. “That was one of those mag­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ences,” she re­mem­bers. “I have a real thing for that park, the nos­tal­gia el­e­ment. I’ve still got the photo of seven-year-old Karen with Mickey in front of the cas­tle.”

To­day, the Kiwi fash­ion de­signer en­ters the world of Dis­ney once more with a col­laboration cel­e­brat­ing 90 years of Mickey and Min­nie Mouse, whom she de­scribes as the ul­ti­mate cul­tural icons .“mickey and Min­nie stand for ad­ven­ture and whimsy .that’s very much the place we ex­ist in too, ”walker says. “that’s what our Run­away Girl mo­tif stands for: go­ing forth, look­ing for ad­ven­ture but with a sense of fun.”

She’s talk­ing about the cen­tral part of her Dis­ney col­lec­tion, an adap­ta­tion of the Karen Walker mo­tif — a girl with a ponytail, car­ry­ing a stick and bindle. orig­i­nally hand-drawn in 2001 by walker’s hus­band and the brand’s creative di­rec­tor, Mikhail Gher­man, the Run­away Girl re­mained un­touched un­til now. “al­most the sec­ond we started talk­ing about the col­laboration with Dis­ney I thought, What if we let Mickey and Min­nie use our bindle? I could pic­ture them both in pro­file, march­ing for­ward into the world with the bindle and stick over their shoul­ders. we’ve never changed it be­fore. But this is Mickey and Min­nie Mouse! It’s kind of like a short­term ar­ranged mar­riage and we’re the par­ents, ”walker jokes.

Walker was cho­sen to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia and New Zealand in the global cam­paign mark­ing Mickey’s birth­day.the tim­ing was for­tu­itous. Dis­ney ap­proached Walker late last year, soon af­ter she had re­turned to the iconic Ana­heim amuse­ment park, this time with her own daugh­ter, 10-year-old Valentina. “So the whole Dis­ney world was very fresh in my mind,” Walker says. “The mouse ears were still sit­ting on valentina’s desk at home.”

Fash­ion has of­ten looked to Dis­ney for in­spi­ra­tion: Mickey at Marc Ja­cobs (S/S 2013); Bambi at Givenchy (A/W 2013); Don­ald Duck at Gucci (S/S 2017 menswear) and Beauty & the Beast at Christo­pher Kane (cap­sule col­lec­tion, 2017); Dumbo, Thumper and the Dal­ma­tians at Coach 1941 and Dis­ney Vil­lains at The Blonds (S/S 2019). Col­lab­o­ra­tions for the 90th in­clude Marc Ja­cobs, Saint Lau­rent and Vans; Open­ing Cer­e­mony held its ‘Hap­pi­est Show on Earth’ in Dis­ney­land’s Toon­town in March. While not of­fi­cially part of the cel­e­bra­tions, Jeremy Scott at Moschino is tak­ing the idea of col­laboration up a level with his range for H&M fea­tur­ing a Dis­ney ‘col­lec­tion within a col­lec­tion’. “We chose to part­ner with Karen Walker as she is also a true orig­i­nal, in the fash­ion field, so her line was a per­fect fit for the col­laboration,” says Kylie Wat­son-wheeler, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent & man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of The Walt Dis­ney Com­pany for Aus­tralia & New Zealand. The heart­beat of the range is Mickey and Min­nie hold­ing the bindle, fea­tured on T-shirts and sweat­shirts. And while the cam­paign, which will de­but in Novem­ber, is all about Mickey, Dis­ney al­lowed Walker to work with Goofy and Don­ald Duck, too. there are also the state­ment sun­glasses you would ex­pect from Karen Walker — frames with Min­nie eye­lashes; Mickey’s glove on a frame’s arms.the eye­wear will be avail­able from David Jones, walker’s New Zealand, Tokyo and on­line bou­tiques, and glob­ally through stock­ists in­clud­ing Bar­neys Newyork.the de­signer’s Play­park store in Auck­land will fea­ture a Mickey and Min­nie Mouse pop-up. Fun fash­ion has been a con­stant for Walker’s brand. Op­ti­mism and ad­ven­ture-seek­ing are themes the de­signer con­tin­ues to em­brace. “fash­ion lives any­where from ex­treme fun to ex­treme ice queen and ev­ery­thing in be­tween. we’ve al­ways ex­isted at the end of the spec­trum that’s about fun and smiles,” she re­flects. “for us, it’s al­ways been, Are we hav­ing fun? Is this mak­ing us happy?” The Dis­ney x Karen Walker range is avail­able from Novem­ber 7;

A Har­ris Reed look (and right).

Harry Styles in a Har­ris Reed look.

From left: Karen Walker with daugh­ter Valentina Gher­man at Dis­ney­land; with her brother Nick and Mickey Mouse in 1977; a look from the Dis­ney col­laboration. Be­low, from top: Dis­ney x Karen Walker Min­nie sun­glasses, $250, Mickey pouch, $70, and Mickey back­pack, $215,

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