Searching for Paul Harnden, Fashion’s Most Reclusive Designer


About eight yrs ago, the actor Jeremy Powerful, who performs Kendall Roy in Succession and who is identified for his esoteric, passionate tastes in trend, which match the far more verbose facets of his character, located himself in Brighton, a seaside town on the south coast of England. Brighton is house to a sizable university, a thriving array of LGBTQ venues, and the secretive shoemaker and style designer Paul Harnden, whose classic-searching, vaguely Dickensian parts are made by some of England’s oldest mills, in standard tweeds, or silks or durable Ventile. Strong decided to use the situation to track Harnden down. He tried using an LLC handle, attempted Google Earth. He did anything he could, he advised me, “in the hopes of obtaining a pair of coveted P.H. boots, but to no avail.” Harnden was undiscoverable. “The path went cold. A riddle wrapped in a secret inside of an enigma, produced with intense care and artistry,” Solid said.

To Potent, this only additional to the enchantment. “He is reclusive, un-self-looking for, and committed to the do the job exclusively—those values, to me, seem to be immanent within just the garments,” he said of Harnden, who is acknowledged for becoming intensely specific and managed. He sells to only a handful of outlets, typically no much more than just one or two in each town. He almost never improvements his designs. He insists that his clothes is not discounted on sale, never loaned for photoshoots, never bought on-line. “He is undertaking one thing that is pretty much the precise opposite of what Walter Benjamin termed ‘Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’,” Sturdy mentioned, citing the principle that replication can undermine an object’s “aura.” He identified as what Harnden does “ineffable and serious,” noting that in “a environment of escalating sound,” he is trying to make his individual, obvious sound. “Someone who does that, in any subject, is as scarce as a snow leopard these days and as critical.”

Harnden’s apparel 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 told WWD. “I can’t get keep of him. I feel he lives in England by the sea.” WWD ran a independent report, “The Mysterious Paul Harnden,” in which Adrian Joffe, the wife or husband of Rei Kawakubo and head of the retailer Dover Street Current market, which sells Harnden’s function, mentioned that it was “beyond trend.” This motivated a piece in New York magazine’s the Slash, “The Mysterious Designer John Galliano Loves” in which the reporter, baffled and awed, observed “Nobody’s really achieved him.”

The to start with working day I consider to get in touch with Harnden is a grey Wednesday in January. That week, the Italian luxurious manufacturer Bottega Veneta announced a takeover of the Excellent Wall of China, emblazoning a stretch of the structure with its tangy green branding. Soon after months of backlash against fashion’s scale and speed—its relentless championing of the new, the opulent—and various pious-seeming, head-hanging claims to rethink, put up-pandemic, the field was presently grinding back into its usual rhythms. Manufacturers had been, the moment once more, flying journalists across the globe for style shows. Retailers were being taking shipping and delivery of new stock, marking down what experienced arrived just a couple months before. And general public relations specialists from Paris to New York ended up soliciting attention for their designer purchasers. Harnden, on the other hand, did not seem to be to want to chat.

I searched fruitlessly for a cell phone number, an e mail address, just about anything. His website has no get hold of specifics 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 clever clue, and located nothing other than a web site submit, from 2010, by a person else complaining about how difficult it is to contact Paul Harnden.


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