Harris Reed Is the Gender-Fluid Face of Gucci Memoire d’une Odeur

The gender-fluid designer and Gucci muse is no stranger to fashion and beauty’s influence on social causes and has worked to expand the ways the industry thinks about gender lines.

Harris Reed is all about movement. The gender-fluid designer and Gucci muse is no stranger to fashion and beauty’s influence on social causes and has worked to expand the ways the industry thinks about gender lines. They describe their personal style as “glam-rock romanticism gone nonbinary,” and their iconoclasm has caught the eye of Harry Styles, Solange, Ezra Miller, and more. In their newest venture, Reed becomes one of the prominent faces of Gucci’s latest fragrance, Memoire d’une Odeur. The campaign directed by Glen Luchford revolves around high-class domestic life imbued with a carefree spirit, the formula for unforgettable memories. 

“Everything comes from my obsession with scents: my memory is primarily olfactive so, for me, my sense of smell is my memory,” Alessandro Michele said of the fragrance. “I thought that, deep down, perfume is that thing that even with your eyes closed, brings you to a precise moment in space and time. When we began to work on Gucci Mémoire d’une Odeur, I tried to imagine the recollection of a scent that couldn’t easily be identified; a hybrid scent that resembles memory as much as possible.”

In an exclusive interview with V, Reed shared the memories that color their own approach to fashion and self-expression. 


They have a smell for every aspect of their creative process. 

I mean, because I think having my mom, she’s been a perfumer for 25 years and kind of growing up in a house where most of what she did was in the house, in the kitchen, in the garage, like, um, I so strongly identify smells with specific feelings and I think what I do – because I do try to have it be as you know politically charged as I can against usually talking about gender issues within the community. I do think a smell, an essence, definitely brings on – I would say definitely brings on some inspiration but it’s more of just a mood and I think that mood for me, I try to create a world and an atmosphere so I think for me scent I would really start a mood for me. Especially when I’m working, I’m kind of having, depending on what the collection is, I’ll have something really woodsy and dark and kind of like a fiery heat burning. That’s usually kind of in the beginning kind of creative process because that represents fire and movement and light and kind of makes me feel kind of invigorated and then when we’re all sewing and beading and having that kind of more tedious work I think having that smell makes it a bit of a citrus or a bit more of like a sandalwood like and I’m being quite dead serious like I’ve scent is a kind of like journey, um, but I definitely do think that there have been a couple of instances where I will have a smell and it will kind of transport me. So, I think it usually—it can kind of act as the initial spark to whatever I’m creating. 


Reed appreciates the transformative power of smell. 

I’m a very young designer and I don’t have studios in my house. Like I’m not you know in this huge, you know this huge, amazing, kind of castle we’re designing in. I think smell is instrumental because smell transports you. You know? So I might be in a small, little guest bedroom sewing but with the smells going on in the room I can pretend I’m in a beautiful castle somewhere with a beautiful jasmine breeze coming in while I’m sewing these garments. You know, so I think it’s super, super important because it really helps you transcend into another world and kind of make it so much more well-rounded. 

Jasmine is their favorite scent from the latest fragrance.

I forget what specific jasmine it is. If it’s a Roman jasmine or if it’s a Roman chamomile but I think the jasmine to me, just again, jasmine to me just makes me think of movement and like wind over a roaring field into beautiful white French doors like for me jasmine is a very kind of like – it’s a scent that takes you on a journey, it’s a scent that kind of like starts leading and guiding the way. Um, so it’s probably one of the scents that I identify with the most and makes me kind of the most I don’t know free when you put it on. You kind of feel like you’re about to go on a really fun summer adventure. 


The environment on the set was a kind of real family.

We were all kind of literally rolling down the grass and in the catering like laughing, hugging, kissing, like, literally, I remember at one point I was like strip teasing behind this giant, white sheet as everyone was chanting. It was quite like a spiritual, magical moment like I feel like we were on this crazy summer holiday. The fact that we were at this one castle, and then we moved to these castle ruins, and then from that, we moved to these amazing fields. It just kind of felt like it was like going on the best road trip with the people you respect, the people who are teaching you so much. 

Reed felt incredibly honored to be a part of the first gender-neutral fragrance for Gucci. 

I mean, what it means, for me, the word honor is not a big enough word to describe how it felt. I felt so privileged to be able to everything I do, I want there to be a message, I want there to be something so strong and vivacious behind it. I don’t want to just—whether it’s beautiful clothes or a beautiful campaign like there needs to be a message. So to be asked by someone I respect so deeply and admire so much as Alessandro, to be one of the faces of the first-ever gender-fluid perfume and the brand’s 98 year history, um, it felt amazing because the thing that I feel like is really great is the response that I’ve been seeing through Instagram, through meeting people, even people coming up to me on the street and in the airport, people saying that it opened their eyes in a different way or made them look at, um, look actually into what it means to be gender-ambiguous or gender fluid or transgender. For me, I just hope it opens up the conversation to what it means to be different or what it means to be unique and I think Alessandro has always pushed that message through all the work he’s done. But I think this is the first time where literally this is a gender, I look at it as a gender-fluid fragrance because I don’t look at it as unisex, it’s not unisex at all. It’s literally for everyone and I think the message and the people he chose to stand behind it just can’t get any more genuine. For me, it’s a huge privilege and I do hope it kind of cracks open the door to have the conversation kind of pour out. 


They hope the fragrance encourages a sense of inclusivity for those who wear it. 

I really do hope this inspires people to really look like, you know, look at being able to use different people. Of course of different backgrounds and of different ethnicities but as well as trying to pick people who don’t hit the status quo and like you know just seeing that there’s so much beauty and acceptance in that so if anything that this can hopefully be the spark that initiates beautiful fire of acceptance and love. That’s what I have to say.


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