FASHION

Harris Reed, 26, Is Set to Make Nina Ricci One of Fashion’s Most Talked-About Brands

A red-haired Harris Reed wearing a black tulle glove by Nina Ricci
Courtesy of @harris_reed

On Wednesday, Harris Reed announced that he is the new creative director of Nina Ricci in the caption of a photo of himself wearing a pair of tulle gloves from a couture collection the Puig-owned house presented back in 1992. The year gives you an idea of how remarkable Reed’s rise has been: That was four full years before the 26-year-old designer and longtime favorite of Harry Styles was born. All the more impressive, he became one of the industry’s buzziest names despite being among the many to graduate and try to put himself on the map amid lockdown.

“To be a 6’4” (without heels), red-headed, long haired fluid designer (who everyone thinks is a fabulous woman) who is unapologetically myself entering a brand I could have only ever dreamed of in Paris just leaves me full of excitement and love,” Reed said in an emotional statement prefaced with a recount of telling his mom he would one day be a creative director of “one of those French houses” he used to read about at night. “I’m truly speechless… I have dreamed of this moment for so long, from the time I was a small child, through working my fingers to the bone at CSM [Central Saint Martins], to now. This feels like something out of a movie, a storyline I might sit down and watch at the cinema.” (Try not to smile while watching him break the news to his mom, the model and candle creator Lynette Reed, in the second slide of the Instagram below.)

Reed first started gaining attention long before he even graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2020. He was tapped to design costumes for Harry Styles’s 2017 tour, which helped cement Styles’s own reputation for daring dressing and Reed’s reputation for gender fluid designing. His eventual graduation collection premiered online at British Vogue, and against all odds, he went on to thrive amid lockdown by embracing theatrics as he challenged traditional notions of menswear. “I think the pandemic made us dream bigger and crave that level of avant-garde,” Reed told W earlier this year, at which point he was the most talked-about name in London’s competitive design scene. This year has been one of Reed’s biggest yet: He’s so far made Lil Nas X and Conan Gray the stars of the VMAs red carpet, showcased his demi-couture and Missoma jewelry collab on Adele in her “Oh My God” music video, and dressed Beyoncé for the British Vogue cover that introduced the world to Renaissance. The latter two are proof that Reed isn’t limited to challenging menswear; he was also responsible for Iman’s head-turning 2021 Met Gala look. The supermodel brought him as her date, and the pair was unmissable in matching gold and feathered versions of Reed’s signature flying saucer hats.

Harris Reed and Iman attend the 2021 Met Gala celebrating “In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on September 13, 2021.

Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Celina Ralph wears a Harris Reed gown and headpiece; stylist’s own gloves. Photographed by Campbell Addy for W magazine, February 2022.

Reed’s appointment could help put Nina Ricci’s name back on the lips of fashion editors and stylist in a way it hasn’t been since Olivier Theyskens’s acclaimed two-year tenure at its helm ended in 2009. From there came Peter Copping, who went on to become creative director of Oscar de la Renta, and most recently the Dutch duo Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh. What’s more, Reed isn’t the house’s only newcomer: Nina Ricci has also promoted the Haider Ackermann and JW Anderson alum Edwin Bodson to General Director. He didn’t waste time in making it clear that Harris will have his full support in ushering the house into what he described as a new era. “As a gender fluid designer rejecting norms in a quest for freedom,” he said in a statement, “Harris’s signified vision of magnified femininity will span across Nina Ricci.”

Helming Nina Ricci will present a whole new era for Reed, too. The designer has so far stayed clear of ready-to-wear, at times even working with just a single client a month. The caliber of his demi-couture is part of his aim for it to be “passed down from a grandmother to a trans son to their nonbinary daughter,” as he put it earlier this year. “It’s about bringing back that 360-degree cycle of beauty to the world.” We’ll just have to wait until early 2023 to see how that approach translates on a much grander and faster-paced scale.