Harry Brant, who found fame as a precocious teenage aesthete with a distinctive androgynous look and was a staple of New York’s elite fashion scene with his elder brother Peter, was found dead on Sunday at age 24. He died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.
The New York Times said that he had struggled with addiction for several years and that according to his family he had been due to shortly enter rehab.
Harry was the son of Stephanie Seymour, one of the original supermodels, and Peter M. Brant, the publisher and art collector. As such he grew up in a gilded world, partying his way around the nightclubs, yachts, and restaurants of the world accompanied by supermodels, famous photographers, and social media stars.
He counted Naomi Campbell (his mother’s maid of honor) and Courtney Love as friends. He dated his friendship with the latter to their first encounter, saying, “We were friends from the first time we met and realized we were carrying around the same book on Greek mythology.”
At the age of 16, he was one of the youngest people ever to be invited to Vogue’s Met Ball Gala, wearing an embroidered Yves Saint Laurent jacket. His connections to the very top of the fashion and publishing worlds were evident in that he was asked to contribute a photo diary of the event to fashion magazine W.
He lived at an apartment in New York City with his brother Peter, often traveling home on weekends to the family home in Connecticut, the 53-acre White Birch Stud Farm, named after Peter Brant Sr.’s White Birch newsprint-manufacturing company.
Brant Sr. had an astonishing collection of art, including a 10-foot-tall Jeff Koons sculpture, Balloon Dog (Orange). The art collection is said to comprise over 1,000 pieces, including works by Andy Warhol (who he met when he was 20), Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Richard Serra.
Brant Sr. married Seymour when he was 48 and she was 26 and still the top model for Victoria’s Secret. He commissioned a nude bust of her by the artist Maurizio Cattelan known as “Trophy Wife.” The piece was mounted on a wall like a hunting trophy, according to a profile of the brothers in Vanity Fair, which approvingly called Harry “Little Lord Fauntleroy.” New York Magazine referred to Harry and Peter as “NYC’s Most Beautiful Teenage Brothers.”
Surrounded by fashion, Harry modeled for Balmain and Italian Vogue and founded a unisex makeup line with MAC, releasing collections in 2015 and 2016.
He told Vanity Fair that he liked the idea of dressing up and “taking on a new persona every time you go out. One time I’ll think of myself as, like, a captain in the military or as a prince who’s been banished from his country.”
In 2016, he was arrested after refusing to pay a cab fare in Greenwich, Conn., and charged with larceny, interfering with an officer, and drug possession.
“We will forever be saddened that his life was cut short by this devastating disease,” his family said in a statement. “He achieved a lot in his 24 years, but we will never get the chance to see how much more Harry could have done.”