Seeking for Paul Harnden, Fashion’s Most Reclusive Designer

About eight decades ago, the actor Jeremy Robust, who plays Kendall Roy in Succession and who is known for his esoteric, intimate tastes in trend, which match the much more verbose aspects of his character, located himself in Brighton, a seaside town on the south coastline of England. Brighton is household to a sizable university, a flourishing array of LGBTQ venues, and the secretive shoemaker and vogue designer Paul Harnden, whose vintage-searching, vaguely Dickensian pieces are designed by some of England’s oldest mills, in traditional tweeds, or silks or sturdy Ventile. Robust resolved to use the celebration to keep track of Harnden down. He attempted an LLC tackle, attempted Google Earth. He did anything he could, he told me, “in the hopes of finding 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, made with extraordinary treatment and artistry,” Powerful stated.

To Solid, this only added to the attraction. “He is reclusive, un-self-looking for, and committed to the operate exclusively—those values, to me, look immanent within the garments,” he reported of Harnden, who is recognised for becoming intensely certain and controlled. He sells to only a handful of merchants, ordinarily no more than one or two in every town. He seldom alterations his styles. He insists that his clothing is not discounted on sale, hardly ever loaned for photoshoots, by no means sold on-line. “He is undertaking one thing that is pretty much the exact opposite 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 named what Harnden does “ineffable and serious,” noting that in “a entire world of growing noise,” he is making an attempt to produce his personal, clear seem. “Someone who does that, in any subject, is as scarce as a snow leopard these times and as critical.”

Harnden’s clothes 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 stuff from him.” “He’s very Greta Garbo,” he instructed WWD. “I can’t get maintain of him. I believe that he life in England by the sea.” WWD ran a individual report, “The Mysterious Paul Harnden,” in which Adrian Joffe, the spouse of Rei Kawakubo and head of the retailer Dover Street Marketplace, which sells Harnden’s do the job, stated that it was “beyond vogue.” This motivated a piece in New York magazine’s the Slash, “The Mysterious Designer John Galliano Loves” in which the reporter, baffled and awed, famous “Nobody’s in fact satisfied him.”

The to start with working day I attempt to call Harnden is a gray Wednesday in January. That 7 days, the Italian luxurious brand Bottega Veneta announced a takeover of the Good Wall of China, emblazoning a stretch of the composition with its tangy green branding. Just after months of backlash in opposition to fashion’s scale and speed—its relentless championing of the new, the opulent—and numerous pious-seeming, head-hanging claims to rethink, submit-pandemic, the field was previously grinding again into its usual rhythms. Brands had been, when once more, flying journalists across the globe for trend shows. Outlets have been taking delivery of new inventory, marking down what had arrived just a couple of weeks in advance of. And general public relations specialists from Paris to New York were soliciting focus for their designer shoppers. Harnden, on the other hand, did not feel to want to talk.

I searched fruitlessly for a mobile phone quantity, an e-mail deal with, anything at all. His internet site has no get hold of facts just a white website 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 discovered nothing at all other than a web site submit, from 2010, by someone else complaining about how impossible it is to get hold of Paul Harnden.