This year’s Halloween costume contenders just got a whole lot more bulbous thanks to HARRI’s signature aesthetic. The look you may recognize from Sam Smith’s viral 2023 BRIT Awards outfit has been embedded into the three most popular looks of the spooky holiday. Daring and bold, this collaboration aimed to free us of Halloween regrets, which in most cases comes from wearing a costume that was too basic.
HARRI takes on the classics while giving them a high fashion, experimental twist, with the Red Witch featuring an inflated skirt extended at the hips, the Villain Vampire has shoulders that reach far and upward in an almost cartoon-like manner, while the Golden Pumpkin gets a luxurious golden vegan latex finishing. Each piece is available to rent from the Costume Boutique in West London.
We caught up with the NEWGEN designer to talk about the collaboration, his design process, his favourite scary movie and his take on Halloween dressing.
Hey Harri, let’s start this one with a classic. What’s your favourite scary movie?
I’d go with The Conjuring for the timeless classic and the recent favourite has got to be Get Out.
Are you someone who gets really into Halloween?
I’m kind of a newcomer to the Halloween scene. I moved to this country about seven years ago and that’s when I really got introduced to the whole Halloween culture. I’ve never really had the courage or time to go all out with costumes before, but after this project I’m feeling inspired and I’m definitely going for it!
This year, you are giving Halloween a new look by collaborating with Southern Comfort. How did you two first get talking about this?
Southern Comfort approached me with this amazing project to reimagine some of the most popular Halloween costumes and give them a new lease of life. It was an interesting and innovative project for me, as I’ve never done anything in this space before and was a breath of fresh air right after a hectic London Fashion Week.
Both HARRI and Southern Comfort values just clicked – we similarly love being bold, unapologetic and a little self-deprecating. Plus, they gave me the creative freedom to bring my own vision to life. It was an absolute pleasure to work with Southern Comfort from start to finish.
The partnership comes to fruition in three different re-imagined Halloween costumes – the Red Witch, Villain Vampire and Golden Pumpkin. Why did you choose these three in particular?
Southern Comfort did some research into people’s Halloween habits, and these were among the top 10 most popular costumes in the UK. The research also found the majority of people regretted past costumes for being boring and predictable, so we set out to give these classic costumes a larger than life makeover.
Honestly, I was quite happy that these three came up and feel that each one of them has a unique character and its own story. It gave me a lot of scope to really understand Halloween historically and culturally and create my own interpretation of these classic costumes.
Tell me a little about the process of making these – from sketching to creation.
Just like my other projects, we had a tight timeframe but were up for the challenge and assembled our team quickly. There weren’t a lot of difficulties, but a lot of organisation required to make sure that all the raw materials were ordered and delivered on time. My team paused other projects to focus all of our energy on this and we had about two weeks to get everything done – two to three days for sketches and designs, and then an extremely busy 10 days to bring them to life. So, it was quite hectic for the past couple of weeks, but the end result has made us really, really happy.
How did you find blending your avant-garde aesthetic most known for its bulbous accents with something that could be described as unusual daywear except for one night a year?
My inspiration always comes from the body and anatomy, pushing boundaries of perception. Irrespective of the project, the principles of my design and inspiration remain the same. Whether it’s Sam Smith’s Brit Awards look or these new Halloween outfits, it’s all about redefining the norm. Halloween costumes should be bold, courageous, unapologetic and over the top and the collection I’ve designed has certainly achieved this.
The costumes are going to be available for the public to rent this weekend, so we also had the wearer and their Halloween celebrations in mind whilst designing. We included a bespoke Southern Comfort 5cl bottle holder into every costume so they can take the party with them wherever the night takes them!
The ‘final girl,’ the moving-into-a-new-home introduction scene, the creepy doll that ends up haunting the main cast, the unmissable jump scare moments… We’ve seen so many tropes come out of Halloween-classic horror flicks. Do you have a personal favourite?
The hide and clap scene in The Conjuring was so well done!
Though now, many people are seeing a new dimension to the genre of horror, dividedly called “elevated horror.” The term refers to horror that leans more towards the psychological thriller category and typically made by an art-house production company such as A24’s Hereditary or Jordan Peele’s Get Out. Do you feel that your collaboration follows suit with the genre of “elevated horror?”
Absolutely! I’m loving this new wave of horror films like Get Out. They bring in this mysterious, supernatural element whilst putting things in the context of the current day which really make you stop and think. Creating that sense of mystery and surprise in my work has always been a passion.
Lastly, what’s your Halloween costume going to be this year?
Still mulling it over, but I’m leaning towards going as a vampire!
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