/Gender-Fluid Fashion Designer Harris Reed on the Power of Makeup and Their MAC Cosmetics Collab

Gender-Fluid Fashion Designer Harris Reed on the Power of Makeup and Their MAC Cosmetics Collab

Courtesy of MAC Cosmetics

“Makeup is about exploring different sides of yourself.”

This morning, MAC Cosmetics teased a new makeup collection in collaboration with rising British-American designer Harris Reed. The 24-year-old sartorial mind is part of a new generation of forward-thinking designers pioneering a welcomed shift in gender-bending fashion thanks to their (Reed’s pronoun of choice) theatrical glam rock–meets-Victorian design aesthetic, which includes plenty of grand, full moon-shaped hats, lamé pussy-bow blouses, glamorous skirts and bell bottom trousers.

Reed first gained industry attention back in 2019 for outfitting singer Harry Styles for many of his world tour performances and promotional appearances that year – this was all happening while Reed was still a fashion design student at Central Saint Martins in London, mind you – and has since gone on to include other bold-name faces like Solange Knowles as clients.

As for Reed’s upcoming limited-edition makeup collection, which pulls inspiration from Dutch Golden Age paintings, Studio 54 and Mick Jagger, the young designer and recent grad dreamt up a four-piece assortment consisting of eye, lip and cheek palettes, along with a gilded eye pencil. “For me, this collection is really about fluid opulence and being for everyone,” they said by phone.

Ahead of the official launch on February 18th on maccosmetics.ca, we chatted with the designer about the creation of the eye-catching collection and their love for makeup.

Clockwise from top: Fighting for the Beauty of Fluidity Eyeshadow Palette, $43; Embrace Your Duality Cream Colour Base, $29; Harris Reed Eye Kohl, $24; From Harris With Love Lipstick Palette, $25.

How would you describe your personal relationship with makeup?

My relationship with makeup is really about exploring your duality and exploring different sides of yourself: Encapsulating different personalities that you want to highlight. For me, I’ll start the morning off with eyeshadow, like gold with a slight shimmer, and lipstick. By lunchtime, my eye makeup looks a bit more messed up, a bit more rock ‘n’ roll renascence. By evening, my face is full-on glam.

Tell us about your creative process when you were coming up with all the colours and textures in the collection. 

When I was designing the palettes, I wanted to be able to create many different looks with them, especially as someone who is very loud, outspoken and who’s constantly evolving and changing all the time. For me, the palettes really needed to show this idea of old renascence with a bit of red gold and pink. The colours tell this soft, poetic story but, at the same time, I wanted to include emerald and black to be able to quickly shift to something more rock ‘n’ roll and messed up. It was really about weaving in a bunch of different narrative in there while keeping an overarching theme: To use these products to enhance and explore your own fluidity and your own identity.

Behind-the-scenes campaign shots. Images courtesy of MAC Cosmetics.

What’s your favourite product from the collection?

I really love the lipstick palette, From Harris With Love, because lipstick is where my journey with makeup began when I was younger. I would put it on my eyes, cheekbones, collarbones. That’s when I discovered the power makeup had to transform, enhance and tell a story.

How would you define your own personal relationship with fashion?

It’s always been an extremely playful approach. I think early on, my peers would look at me as a bit crazy because I was always the person who wanted to dress up and really perform within their clothes. I see clothing as a vessel to showcase yourself to the world, whether that’s through highlighting a part of your sexuality of just you having fun. Clothing can play such a vital, powerful role within our lives. For me, fashion is about challenging the norm and using it to further enhance myself.