Designer Harris Reed’s latest collection looks as if he has raided the wardrobe at The Globe Theatre and had some fun with previous costumes and accessories …
Designer Harris Reed never shies away from drama. The performative, transformative nature of dress has always been at the heart of his brand, and he defines his design DNA as “Romanticism Gone Nonbinary”. This is reflected in his theatrical new collection called “All The World’s A Stage”, a direct quote from the Shakespearean play, As You Like It, and its famous soliloquy by Jaques on the Seven Ages of Man. This includes the lines … “And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages.”
The collection feels as if Reed has raided the wardrobe at The Globe Theatre, or the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon and had some fun with previous costumes and accessories. Made from upcycled and repurposed theatre drapes, the collection comprises gold lamé fabrics, black velvets, crystal embellishments and the harlequin motif (also seen on the catwalk at Mr Armani’s recent Armani Privé SS23 show) which recreate the glamour of pageant costumes and pageant Queens.
This demi-couture collection undoubtedly celebrates the process of getting dressed up, as well as disguise – a pertinent theme in many of Shakespeare’s plays. Corsetry is used to play with silhouettes, exaggerating the waist. Per the collection notes, “These moments frozen in time expose a beauty in finding new shapes and parts of the body to reveal, seeing sensuality through different angles.” The collection is ideal for red carpet ceremonies – especially the upcoming BAFTAs and Oscars. Pictured below is actress Florence Pugh wearing one of the gowns with panache.
Reed follows other designers inspired by the Bard, including Khaite, Simone Rocha, Gucci, Roksanda and Riccardo Tisci, who have all mixed past with present incorporating ruffles, corsetry, ornately jewelled bodices, Tudor tailoring, doublets and romantic tailoring into collections.
Also celebrating Shakespeare, and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio – one of the world’s most valuable literary treasures – is Irish designer Rory Hutton’s latest collection of signature silk scarves. These designs feature references to the First Folio’s publication date, Shakespeare’s birth and death years, and the titles of some of the plays it contains. As Shakespearean scholars will know, The First Folio includes 36 of his plays, thanks to the hard work and dedication of two of his friends and fellow actors, John Heminge and Henry Condell, who gathered the plays together. If they had not collected the works for the book, experts have stated that half of all of his plays (including Macbeth, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, The Tempest, and Antony and Cleopatra) would have been lost forever.
Hutton says, “I hope my First Folio 400 scarves, pocket squares, and hand fans will appeal to Shakespeare lovers, theatre goers, and anyone who enjoys adding a theatrical flourish to their favourite outfits. As well as celebrating the anniversary of this hugely important book and recognising Shakespeare’s enduring legacy as a playwright and poet, these pieces serve as a ‘thank you’ to Heminge and Condell for saving so much of Shakespeare’s work for future generations.”
The “First Folio 400” collection, priced from £38, is available to order from www.roryhutton.co.uk and is be available to purchase in store at the British Museum, The National Theatre, The Royal Opera House and Westminster Abbey. The scarves and pocket square are made of silk with rolled edges, and are printed and finished in Italy.