THERE is a question that every person during fashion week will ask themselves. What’s more important, functionality or fantasy? Well, to kick off London Fashion Week, Harris Reed answered with fantasy. Resonating deeply with the transformative power that clothing has and foregrounding his eponymous label on this magic that enables communication and amplification, he showcased his autumn-winter 2023 collection, and aptly titled it, All The World’s A Stage.
Taking the words from William Shakespeare’s As You Like It play, Reed focused on theatre, setting out not just to put on a show but rather a performance. Setting foot on the runway first, acclaimed British actress Florence Pugh began by reciting spoken word, eloquently reinforcing the idea of fantasy as she roamed around.
“Clothing has a transformative power. Whether for an actor or simply a performer on the stage of life, the art of dressing up allows us to express who we truly are,” speaks Pugh. “The art of dressing up allows us to express who we truly are, creating a safe space to inhabit in a sometimes judgemental world. Our costumes can change who we want to be seen as, and who we are destined to be. I invite you to embrace the lamé and sequins of life, because all the world’s a stage”.
Bringing the drapes of the theatre to fashion – quite literally – the theme ran deeper than just surface level as Reed repurposed gold lamé from the curtains for the harlequin motif, while undulating rolls of rich black velvet that were accented by crystal embellishment. Art also came into the mix, along with Reed’s American history, as ‘Pageant Queens meet Henry Moore’ describe the show notes, as fluid, curving lines create organic silhouettes that extend collars into headpieces and mini skirts come out with padding and bulbous.
The oozing of decadence didn’t stop there as the collection was restricted to two colours allowing the shimmering black and gold colour palette to play into the fantasy without overdoing it. Though this was far from ready-to-wear, and actually noted as demi-couture, Reed’s showmanship makes a case for the importance of creating beautiful things that aren’t necessarily shaped by functionality.
While all the world may be a stage, after that show. it’s Reed’s one that I would like to perform on – especially if Pugh is there too.
by Imogen Clark