Most stylish New Yorkers: Malcolm Harris

The dynamic creative director's wardrobe is rife with dichotomies---just the way he likes it.

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  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Harris's style often invokes historical references. "When wearing this beautiful cape by Dominic Louis, I feel like a modern-day Julius Caesar off to do battle in the mean streets of New York City," he says of the scarlet-and-black cloak.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    This hooded wool Louis Mairone--designed wrap was purchased at Oak. "The future of fashion is participatory," projects Harris. "[In this case,] the wearer [can] create his own story by draping the garment however he sees fit."

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Harris pairs the cape with a netted body shirt by Helmut Lang from INA Women (101 Thompson St between Prince and Spring Sts; 212-941-4757, inanyc.com) and a vintage lace Chanel top found at New York Vintage (117 W 25th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves; 212-647-1107, newyorkvintage.com).

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    He also dons texturized leather pants from Rick Owens (250 Hudson St at Broome St; 212-627-7222, rickowens.eu) and custom Capezio (locations throughout the city; visit capeziodance.com) flamenco shoes.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    When asked about his gender-defying aesthetic, Harris comments that while "most men are confined, if not defined, by their tailored and rigid suits, I personally want to feel much more fluid and fragile." As an example, he models a handcrafted gold-and-bronze mesh top and silk chiffon jacket. Both are from his eponymous line Mal Sirrah (malsirrah.com), juxtaposed with pants from Dior Homme (locations throughout the city; visit dior.fr for more info).

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    A safety pin serves as Harris' earring.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    The altruistic creative director covers his head with one of his signature army-issue caps, which in this context "is doubling as a halo."

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Couture meets fast-fashion in Harris's Lanvin for H&M brown leather footwear.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    In this look, which he's sported while walking the dog and dining out on the town, Harris mixes the past with the present and masculine with feminine. He contrasts a vintage Christian Lacroix (christian-lacroix.fr) underpinning from New York Vintage with a lace Dolce & Gabbana shirt from INA Men and a pair of Rick Owens tights.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    One of Harris's favorite New York City designers, Louis Mairone of Dominic Louis, created this regal leather-and-rope topper.

Photograph: Zenith Richards

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Harris's style often invokes historical references. "When wearing this beautiful cape by Dominic Louis, I feel like a modern-day Julius Caesar off to do battle in the mean streets of New York City," he says of the scarlet-and-black cloak.

Malcolm Harris, "between 35 and the afterlife"; creative director at the One Dress Project (onedressproject.com), an organization that links people to women's charities and causes; Financial District

His personal style: "The best way to describe my personal style is an 'exercise in conflict.' There isn't a stone in the realm of conflict that I leave unturned with my approach to fashion and/or style: gender, race, religion, politics, sex and sexuality, etc. Conflict is woven into every fiber of my aesthetic."

His inspiration: "I'm inspired and influenced by the great heroes and heroines of world history, art and literature. From the fictional Anna Karenina to the great Barack Obama, from the existentialism of Dostoyevsky to the self-portraits of Frida Kahlo. I am inspired by their journeys; therefore, with every art opening, candlelit supper, runway presentation or benign subway ride, I always attempt to honor my own personal story, myth or legacy through my wardrobe."

Favorite NYC stores: "A great number of the consignors at INA Men and Women (locations throughout the city; visit inanyc.com for info) are fashion-industry insiders, and they always furnish these boutiques with beautiful and often one-of-a-kind pieces. Bellhaus (57 Bond St between Bowery and Lafayette St; 212-505-0057, bellhaus.net) is one of the most well-curated and thoughtful shops in New York City. Something very personal and inspiring takes place as soon as you walk through the sleek and modern threshold. Oak (locations throughout the city; visit oaknyc.com for more info) houses the most innovative designers on the fashion scene today. It's the perfect place to gauge the temperature of what is going on in New York City below 14th Street."

His signature item: "My hat serves as crown, battle cap, halo or horns, and most importantly, protector of the psyche. A $14.99 army hat—which I pair with vintage Givenchy or Lacroix, H&M or Zara, Rick Owens or Lavin—is perhaps my most defining and treasured item. I buy them in bulk at Uncle Sam's Army and Navy (37 W 8th St at Washington Square West; 212-674-2222, armynavydeals.com)."

His all-time favorite style icons: "My dear friend Daphne Guinness. Daph is one of those rare fashion birds that never takes the art of fashion or style too seriously. The experimental and artful quality in her approach to fashion is what I most admire about her. We are very much alike in the sense that we understand fashion is about trial and error, and personal style is simply a reflection of this experimentation."

Favorite local designers: "I am mad about emerging designers Louis Mairone [who designs for the brand] Dominic Louis (dominiclouis.com) and Jeffrey Williams (jeffreycwilliams.com). Mairone's garments truly reflect a decadent and urban approach to the modern man's experience. I love that he is not defined by either of the prevailing schools: The Fluidity of Rick Owens versus the Rigid Tailoring of John Varvatos. Williams is a young designer that I met almost two years ago, and his talent for creating true 'unisex' fashion still astonishes me."

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