Harris Reed as seen on vogue.com...
... and available online at Beauty Frontier
Nina Ricci Taps Gender-Fluid Designer Harris Reed
Nina Ricci has appointed Harris Reed, the 26-year-old British-American designer known for his gender-fluid identity and creations, as creative director. His first collection for the Puig-owned fashion and fragrance brand will be unveiled in early 2023.
“I am honoured to be joining the house of Nina Ricci, with its treasure chest full of glamour, history and power ready to be explored. I am truly excited to challenge the landscape of what femininity means across fashion and beauty in such an iconic house,” Reed said in a statement.
The appointment follows the departure in January of previous artistic directors Lisi Herrebrugh and Rushemy Botter. Known for their Caribbean-inspired colour palette and houndstooth patterns, the Dutch duo was appointed in 2018 shortly after they won the Première Vision Grand Prize at the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography, and were finalists for the LVMH Prize.
Reed is a rising star of London’s avant-garde, who describes the DNA of his namesake demi-couture brand as “romanticism gone non-binary”. By the time he graduated from Central Saint Martins in the spring of 2020, he had already caught the attention of singer Harry Styles and Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele. (He walked the Gucci cruise runway in 2018, starred in a campaign for Gucci scent Gucci Mémoire d’une Odeur in 2019, and dressed Styles for the cover of American Vogue in December 2020.) Reed presented his spring 2023 collection last week during London Fashion Week.
Romanticism dovetails with Nina Ricci’s heritage: established in Paris in 1932, it became known for its feminine, form-fitting gowns that resembled lingerie. Spanish perfume and cosmetics giant Puig bought the brand in 1998. (Puig doesn’t break down sales for individual houses. The group generated sales of €2.58 billion in 2021, with 73 per cent of the turnover coming from fragrances and fashion. Puig’s portfolio also includes Paco Rabanne and Jean Paul Gaultier.)
Reed will work closely with new general director for both fashion and fragrances Edwin Bodson, who joined Nina Ricci earlier this year to replace Charlotte Tasset, now CEO at French womenswear brand Maje. Bodson was formerly chief commercial director at JW Anderson, and his career includes stints as managing director of Alexa Chung and head of atelier at Haider Ackermann, according to his LinkedIn profile. “I am thrilled to be part of this new era and to welcome Harris as the new creative director of Nina Ricci. As a gender-fluid designer rejecting norms in a quest for freedom, Harris's singular vision of magnified femininity will span across Nina Ricci,” Bodson stated.
Heritage brands are betting on young design talents to engage with the Gen Z consumer. This year, Ferragamo appointed Maximilian Davis as creative director also at 26.
Reed’s focus will be on raising the ante of the fragrance powerhouse, which is known globally for scents like L’Air du Temps. A series of past creatives have sought to build the ready-to-wear business, including Canadian designer Nathalie Gervais, Swedish designer Lars Nilsson, Belgian designer Olivier Theyskens, English designer Peter Copping, Carven’s Guillaume Henry and most recently, Herrebrugh and Rushemy Botter. Reed also brings experience in home fragrances, having launched his own.
Reed plans to continue his own brand in parallel. Vogue Runway’s Sarah Mower wrote about Reed’s latest collection: “He has a bold sense of unputdownable optimism, which he attributes to his American upbringing. It shows in the scale of his ambition to make clothes which aspire to haute couture, or at least, the look of it.”
“Bold, daring, explosive: Harris will bring up new perspectives on the archives and life-long craftsmanship of the house,” the statement from Nina Ricci reads.
Discover Harris Reed's scented candles here.