The Untimely Passing of Socialite Harry Brant

On the subject of makeup, the late Harry Joseph Brant said, “[it is] all about fantasy and turning yourself into someone you might not necessarily be on an everyday basis, so you kind of get to escape for a night with this new persona. That’s what I always did.”

Model, socialite and son of billionaire Peter Brant and supermodel Stephanie Seymour, Brant lived a fashionable and extravagant life—or so it seemed to the public. On Jan. 17, 2021, Harry Brant passed, after just 24 years of living. His untimely death was the result of an accidental prescription drug overdose. 

Born just one year after his parents’ French countryside wedding, Brant lived a life of elegance, class and glamor; his rise to fashion industry prominence came in the early 2010s. Brant was unafraid to challenge societally imposed gender limitations and made his red-carpet debut while walking for Balmain, during the height of the “children of supermodels” trend. 

Glasses Photo by Billy Huynh from Unsplash

Brant attended Bard College, ended his education prematurely, and began writing a column titled “The Look” for Interview. After a bit, Bard left Interview and returned last year; his most recent pieces featured conversations with Marc Jacobs, Kenny Scharf, and his mother, and he had plans to further his role at the magazine. 

In 2012, Vanity Fair’s Nancy Jo Sales profiled Brant and his older brother, Peter Brant II. In the article, (Harry) Brant’s fascination with women’s clothes was explored, as was his love for iconic trends and dark humor. After publication, Brant admitted to Vogue that he felt Sales’s profile led to the development of his undeserved dreadful reputation. He said, “I speak in a very sarcastic tone, and most people not to take my ramblings too seriously, but it created a nasty reputation that has been hard to shake,” and that it failed to accurately represent him. 

Despite the failure to establish a correct portrayal of Brant’s personality, Sales’s piece did manage to get one vital piece of information right: his admiration for and inspiring partnership with his brother. 

Harry Brant and Peter Brant II made their red-carpet debut together, founded the aforementioned MAC Cosmetics line together, and had an incredible amount of adventures together—both commercially and leisurely. 

The New York Magazine once called the two, “NYC’s Most Beautiful Teenage Brothers”; they unapologetically demanded attention, with their money, glamor and public social life. 

Brant also had a special relationship with his parents. He shared his parents’ love for contemporary art and would often compete in a challenge of sorts with his father. Peter Brant would lead his son around the home and ask him to name the artist of each painting they passed. For every correct answer, Brant would receive one dollar. This small game led to the development of Brant’s relationship with both his father and art—both of which filled Brant with unyielding love and prestigious aspirations.  

In addition to his parents and Peter, Brant is succeeded by a younger sister and five half-siblings. 

“Our hearts are shattered. Harry wanted to overcome his addiction and was just days away from re-entering rehab,” read a statement released by the family 24-year-old socialite Peter Brant, not long after his passing. 

His parents publicly stated that Brant had been struggling with addiction for years and that they deeply regret his passing—a statement that the fashion world, and most of the outside world, can definitely empathize with. 

In a 2016 interview with W Magazine, Brant said, “I really think that once you leave high school, you realize that being normal is something that people want to shy away from, and the more true you are to yourself and the more individual you are, the more people are inherently attracted to you.” Brant was unafraid to push past boundaries and live authentically—something everyone can learn from.

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