Harris Reed took us back to Old Hollywood glamour for its September 2023 collection entitled “Duets.” The collection is chic, elegant, and mainly black & white, giving off a vintage feel without feeling outdated.
Don’t be fooled by the swooping skirts and exaggerated, sculptural shoulders in the shape of a flower petal, because this collection goes deeper than just pretty dresses. “Duets” refers to the duality between femininity and masculinity, a duality that is core to the Harris Reed DNA.
A Virginia Woolf quote sums this idea up, and inspired the designer: “Different though the sexes are, they intermix,” the author states in her novel Orlando: A Biography. “In every human being a vacillation from one sex to the other takes place, and often it is only the clothes that keep the male or female likeness, while underneath the sex is the very opposite of what is above.”
This “vacillation” can be seen in Harris Reed’s collection through the rigid structure typically associated with masculinity, juxtaposed with a feminine curve-exposing fluidity of each look.
The play in between the two is further exaggerated by the use of corsetry, as the British-American designer was inspired by vintage corset patterns. In this collection, corsets are used exploratorily. Some are embedded within the dress while others stand out including a triangular bust and a rounded, cleavage-exposing one.
While the collection on the whole collection is based around a black and white palette, two pops of colour infiltrated the collection. Again, playing with this idea of two opposing forces, gold and silver can be found throughout, gold taking over the the front panel of a corset while a three-quarter circular silver emblem is spotted on a corset’s cups.
Compared to past collections, the choice to hone in on a wholly black and white collection (minus the minimal hint of metallic hues) showcases Harris Reed’s talents as a designer to a further extent. The grandeur, the spectacular and the elegant nature of his designs are pushed centre-stage this season, resulting in a series of looks fit for fancy galas or the Cannes Film Festival – in fact, we won’t be surprised when we do see these on the red carpet.
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