Searching for Paul Harnden, Fashion’s Most Reclusive Designer
About 8 yrs in the past, the actor Jeremy Robust, who plays Kendall Roy in Succession and who is acknowledged for his esoteric, passionate tastes in style, which match the far more verbose factors of his character, found himself in Brighton, a seaside city on the south coastline of England. Brighton is residence to a sizable college, a thriving array of LGBTQ venues, and the secretive shoemaker and trend designer Paul Harnden, whose vintage-seeking, vaguely Dickensian items are manufactured by some of England’s oldest mills, in regular tweeds, or silks or durable Ventile. Potent made a decision to use the occasion to keep track of Harnden down. He tried out an LLC address, attempted Google Earth. He did everything he could, he informed me, “in the hopes of receiving a pair of coveted P.H. boots, but to no avail.” Harnden was undiscoverable. “The path went chilly. A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, manufactured with excessive treatment and artistry,” Powerful said.
To Potent, this only added to the attraction. “He is reclusive, un-self-in search of, and committed to the operate exclusively—those values, to me, seem immanent inside the garments,” he reported of Harnden, who is recognised for being intensely unique and controlled. He sells to only a handful of merchants, generally no far more than 1 or two in each metropolis. He not often changes his styles. He insists that his outfits is not discounted on sale, in no way loaned for photoshoots, never bought on-line. “He is executing some thing that is just about the exact opposite of what Walter Benjamin termed ‘Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’,” Strong claimed, citing the idea that replication can undermine an object’s “aura.” He named what Harnden does “ineffable and genuine,” noting that in “a environment of increasing sound,” he is attempting to make his possess, clear audio. “Someone who does that, in any industry, is as scarce as a snow leopard these days and as essential.”
Harnden’s dresses are also worn by Brad Pitt. By Daniel Working day-Lewis. By John Galliano, who after claimed, in 2010, to “buy all my stuff from him.” “He’s incredibly Greta Garbo,” he informed WWD. “I just cannot get hold of him. I imagine he lives in England by the sea.” WWD ran a separate post, “The Mysterious Paul Harnden,” in which Adrian Joffe, the spouse of Rei Kawakubo and head of the retailer Dover Avenue Market place, which sells Harnden’s do the job, stated that it was “beyond trend.” This motivated a piece in New York magazine’s the Minimize, “The Mysterious Designer John Galliano Loves” in which the reporter, baffled and awed, famous “Nobody’s in fact satisfied him.”
The very first working day I check out to get hold of Harnden is a grey Wednesday in January. That week, the Italian luxury manufacturer Bottega Veneta declared a takeover of the Fantastic Wall of China, emblazoning a extend of the framework with its tangy environmentally friendly branding. Following months of backlash towards fashion’s scale and speed—its relentless championing of the new, the opulent—and several pious-seeming, head-hanging claims to rethink, post-pandemic, the marketplace was already grinding again into its regular rhythms. Manufacturers were, when once more, traveling journalists across the world for fashion shows. Merchants were being using shipping and delivery of new stock, marking down what experienced arrived just a couple of months right before. And public relations specialists from Paris to New York were being soliciting focus for their designer clientele. Harnden, on the other hand, did not appear to want to converse.
I searched fruitlessly for a cellular phone range, an electronic mail tackle, nearly anything. His web page has no make contact with information just a white site, with a jumble of text: ^8m*+,J1/4%[email protected]=~#3Kf. I punched this into Google, hoping it could be a intelligent clue, and identified almost nothing besides a site submit, from 2010, by an individual else complaining about how impossible it is to call Paul Harnden.