This season, a black and white Old Hollywood dream is realised, paying homage to glamorous and exaggerated femininity. Silhouettes are outlined with black, as if Reed’s black and white childhood sketches had come alive from the page, walking the fluid line between fantasy and reality. This fantasy is explored through a swooping skirt hem that stands as if freeze-framed mid-movement, a sculptural skirt sitting vase-like independent of the wearer, and a black and white corset that reaches out and spreads wing-like from the body.
Duality has always been a theme in Reed’s work, the combining of masculine and feminine and the different facets that make up our whole being. In this collection, the structure and rigidity associated with the masculine is employed to create sculptural pieces that appear contrastingly feminine and fluid in their flowing shapes and the curves they expose. Taking inspiration from vintage corset patterns, Reed plays with proportions, creating impossibly cinched waists that appear more extreme against the exaggerated hips, shoulders and skirts they are paired with. The stricture and restraint of corsetry is juxtaposed with fluid, generous draping and abundant use of fabric.
The rich depth of dead-stock black velvet is contrasted with the sheen of white duchess satin. The only concession to colour is seen in metallic accents, on the silver and pearl of custom Missoma breast cups, and champagne gold bugle beading.
The collection title ‘Duet’ refers not only to the feminine and masculine, but the nature of a duet as a performance and, as always with Reed, this collection is viewed as a performance on the runway stage, accompanied by the incredible vocals of Cosima. A duet is also a form of collaboration and Reed’s partnerships with jewellery brand Missoma and milliner Vivienne Lake continue to enrich the collection.
“Different though the sexes are, they intermix. In every human being a vacillation from one sex to the other takes place, and often it is only the clothes that keep the male or female likeness, while underneath the sex is the very opposite of what is above.” – Orlando, Virginia Woolf
Photography by Suleika Mueller