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Hunting for Paul Harnden, Fashion’s Most Reclusive Designer

Hunting for Paul Harnden, Fashion’s Most Reclusive Designer

About 8 a long time back, the actor Jeremy Robust, who plays Kendall Roy in Succession and who is regarded for his esoteric, romantic preferences in style, which match the a lot more verbose areas of his character, discovered himself in Brighton, a seaside city on the south coastline of England. Brighton is house to a sizable university, a flourishing array of LGBTQ venues, and the secretive shoemaker and manner designer Paul Harnden, whose classic-searching, vaguely Dickensian items are produced by some of England’s oldest mills, in common tweeds, or silks or sturdy Ventile. Robust determined to use the situation to monitor Harnden down. He attempted an LLC tackle, tried Google Earth. He did anything he could, he advised me, “in the hopes of having a pair of coveted P.H. boots, but to no avail.” Harnden was undiscoverable. “The trail went cold. A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, made with intense care and artistry,” Solid mentioned.

To Robust, this only included to the enchantment. “He is reclusive, un-self-looking for, and dedicated to the do the job exclusively—those values, to me, seem immanent in just the garments,” he said of Harnden, who is acknowledged for staying intensely specific and controlled. He sells to only a handful of suppliers, ordinarily no additional than one or two in just about every metropolis. He hardly ever variations his designs. He insists that his garments is not discounted on sale, in no way loaned for photoshoots, never sold on the net. “He is executing some thing that is almost the correct reverse of what Walter Benjamin termed ‘Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’,” Strong stated, citing the principle that replication can undermine an object’s “aura.” He referred to as what Harnden does “ineffable and authentic,” noting that in “a entire world of growing noise,” he is hoping to generate his own, obvious audio. “Someone who does that, in any field, is as rare as a snow leopard these days and as important.”

Harnden’s apparel are also worn by Brad Pitt. By Daniel Day-Lewis. By John Galliano, who after claimed, in 2010, to “buy all my stuff from him.” “He’s quite Greta Garbo,” he advised WWD. “I simply cannot get maintain of him. I believe he life in England by the sea.” WWD ran a separate write-up, “The Mysterious Paul Harnden,” in which Adrian Joffe, the husband or wife of Rei Kawakubo and head of the retailer Dover Avenue Industry, which sells Harnden’s work, reported that it was “beyond vogue.” This inspired a piece in New York magazine’s the Cut, “The Mysterious Designer John Galliano Loves” in which the reporter, baffled and awed, mentioned “Nobody’s actually achieved him.”

The first day I consider to make contact with Harnden is a grey Wednesday in January. That 7 days, the Italian luxury brand name Bottega Veneta introduced a takeover of the Excellent Wall of China, emblazoning a stretch of the structure with its tangy eco-friendly branding. After months of backlash from fashion’s scale and speed—its relentless championing of the new, the opulent—and different pious-seeming, head-hanging guarantees to rethink, post-pandemic, the sector was previously grinding again into its usual rhythms. Brand names had been, when once again, flying journalists throughout the world for fashion shows. Outlets have been getting supply of new inventory, marking down what experienced arrived just a few months just before. And community relations experts from Paris to New York have been soliciting focus for their designer shoppers. Harnden, on the other hand, did not look to want to converse.

I searched fruitlessly for a cellphone range, an e-mail handle, nearly anything. His web-site has no speak to particulars just a white page, with a jumble of textual content: ^8m*+,J1/4%?@p=~#3Kf. I punched this into Google, hoping it could be a intelligent clue, and located nothing at all other than a site publish, from 2010, by somebody else complaining about how unachievable it is to speak to Paul Harnden.