“I have mixed feelings,” an editor was overheard saying after the runway show of Harry Halim’s Spring 2024 collection. It was a fair assessment. Indeed, it was a pretty solid showing, but it didn’t quite hit the mark either.
Following his previous show that was dripping with sex and explosion of ruffles back in March, Harry presented his collection at the same location in Bengkel Space SCBD that felt more or less like a muted sequel. At this point, the designer seems to operate on a formula: hyper crop tops for the upper torso, exaggerated volume for the bottoms, plunging necklines and a big dose of ruffles for dramatic flair.
There are a handful of looks that stand out when they are clear in its direction. For instance, a varsity jacket in coffee cream with ruffled sleeves is worn with a pair of shorts that extends itself to the back like a train of a gown. In another, a pearl-encrusted tank top with a flowy skirt and sheer durag presents itself confidently like a sporty take on bridal gown.
While bold juxtapositions of styles, such as the banality of everyday clothing fused with the glamour of eveningwear, are starting to get prosaic, Harry’s proposal of balancing the opulent with comfort is nevertheless a sincere sentiment.
But design-wise, the designer never seems to be clear about what he wants to say with this collection. Some of the looks are lost in a sea of ruffles, skirts with high slits and excessive show of skin as if to distract from the lack of idea. It’s also hard to look away from the tops slashed horizontally with ribbons trailing down the sleeves as well as the crimson jacket with rosette sleeves that came out looking like a watered-down version of Comme de Garçons spring 2015.
What’s obvious is that Harry is clear about who he is designing for and has a penchant for the romantic fantasy of creatures of the night, building a loyal band of followers who are unapologetic in expressing themselves through his creations. But so far his collections have been stuck in the same territory over and over again—existing only in the eternal night. Not that he should wipe the entire slate clean, retire the gothic makeup and witchy nails to get his point across. Harry could have dug deeper and sharpened his focus with a driving point. It might be more daring if he allowed some light in instead of confining his collection to the night.