Designer Clothing

Searching for Paul Harnden, Fashion’s Most Reclusive Designer

About eight decades ago, the actor Jeremy Sturdy, who performs Kendall Roy in Succession and who is recognized for his esoteric, romantic tastes in style, which match the a lot more verbose factors of his character, identified himself in Brighton, a seaside city on the south coastline of England. Brighton is house to a sizable college, a flourishing array of LGBTQ venues, and the secretive shoemaker and manner designer Paul Harnden, whose vintage-seeking, vaguely Dickensian items are manufactured by some of England’s oldest mills, in conventional tweeds, or silks or durable Ventile. Potent determined to use the event to track Harnden down. He tried out an LLC handle, attempted Google Earth. He did anything he could, he explained to me, “in the hopes of having a pair of coveted P.H. boots, but to no avail.” Harnden was undiscoverable. “The trail went chilly. A riddle wrapped in a secret inside of an enigma, designed with serious care and artistry,” Sturdy stated.

To Powerful, this only additional to the attractiveness. “He is reclusive, un-self-trying to find, and committed to the work exclusively—those values, to me, seem immanent inside the garments,” he claimed of Harnden, who is recognised for getting intensely specific and controlled. He sells to only a handful of outlets, generally no more than a person or two in every metropolis. He hardly ever adjustments his styles. He insists that his clothes is not discounted on sale, never ever loaned for photoshoots, never marketed online. “He is executing a thing that is pretty much the specific reverse of what Walter Benjamin termed ‘Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’,” Robust reported, citing the principle that replication can undermine an object’s “aura.” He referred to as what Harnden does “ineffable and genuine,” noting that in “a globe of escalating sounds,” he is making an attempt to produce his have, distinct audio. “Someone who does that, in any industry, is as scarce as a snow leopard these times and as important.”

Harnden’s garments are also worn by Brad Pitt. By Daniel Working day-Lewis. By John Galliano, who as soon as claimed, in 2010, to “buy all my things from him.” “He’s really Greta Garbo,” he advised WWD. “I cannot get hold of him. I imagine he life in England by the sea.” WWD ran a separate posting, “The Mysterious Paul Harnden,” in which Adrian Joffe, the partner of Rei Kawakubo and head of the retailer Dover Avenue Current market, which sells Harnden’s perform, reported that it was “beyond style.” This encouraged a piece in New York magazine’s the Reduce, “The Mysterious Designer John Galliano Loves” in which the reporter, baffled and awed, pointed out “Nobody’s truly achieved him.”

The 1st day I try out to contact Harnden is a grey Wednesday in January. That week, the Italian luxury manufacturer Bottega Veneta declared a takeover of the Terrific Wall of China, emblazoning a extend of the composition with its tangy green branding. Immediately after months of backlash in opposition to fashion’s scale and speed—its relentless championing of the new, the opulent—and several pious-seeming, head-hanging guarantees to rethink, put up-pandemic, the sector was by now grinding back into its regular rhythms. Models were, when yet again, flying journalists throughout the world for manner exhibits. Suppliers had been getting delivery of new inventory, marking down what had arrived just a number of months ahead of. And public relations experts from Paris to New York were soliciting awareness for their designer purchasers. Harnden, on the other hand, did not appear to want to chat.

I searched fruitlessly for a phone variety, an e-mail deal with, something. His site has no contact facts just a white page, with a jumble of textual content: ^8m*+,J1/4%[email protected]=~#3Kf. I punched this into Google, hoping it could be a clever clue, and found very little besides a site article, from 2010, by another person else complaining about how difficult it is to get in touch with Paul Harnden.

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