Harry Styles has been widely known for his gender-fluid and unique fashion sense. He made headlines with his 2019 Met Gala look, and has continued with his bold choices. None of those looks garnered as much attention as his December 2020 Vogue Cover. Everyone had something to say about the British pop singer’s clothing choice, from fashion influencers to major celebrities to right-wing politicians. So, here’s everything you need to know about the Harry Vogue cover feature.
Styles is the first male solo artist to grace the front cover of the Vogue Magazine in the publication’s 127-year history. Hence, the Harry Vogue cover feature created hype on social media, where he has a significant fan following, and among major fashion influencers. The highly anticipated issue was met with both backlash and appreciation.
Photographed by Tyler Mitchell, the Harry Vogue cover features him wearing a ball gown, blowing on a blue balloon. The Watermelon Sugar hitmaker wore a baby blue customized Gucci gown from the AW20 collection on the Vogue Magazine’s front cover and a Gucci tailored tuxedo jacket. The gown was designed by Styles’ friend and Gucci’s creative designer Alessandro Michelle. It was originally in a baby pink color but was custom made in periwinkle for Styles. The color change signified traditional gender roles, where blue is deemed more ‘manly.’
Styles’ fashion choices weren’t this bold and daring in his early days of fame. Back when he was in One Direction, the singer started with preppy suits or baggy jeans and polo shirts. He slowly transitioned to skinny jeans and YSL leather boots and flowy shirts. However, this was just a tiny glimpse into his fashion sense. After going solo, Styles’ was regularly seen sporting runway looks at his concerts. Harry moved from suits to high waist pants in his Fine Line era. His black sheer lace top at Met Gala had head’s turning, so it was nothing new for his fans when the singer emerged in a ball gown on the cover of American Vogue.
Harry Styles stated that he is inspired by David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Elton John and Elvis Presley. They are all male artists who broke several gender barriers during their time.
Styled by Harry Lambert and Camilla Nickerson, the Harry Vogue cover feature also had several other androgynous and gender-fluid outfits. Some of these included sweater vests and kilts and flowing skirts along with trousers and dress shirts.
To surprise his mother, the singer also invited his sister to pose with him. Gemma Styles is Harry’s older sister, who has also dabbled in fashion by designing her own eyewear line. She can be seen sitting with Harry in some of the pictures. The singer emphasized the importance of having family and close friends around him, which has kept him grounded.
After the release, the internet seemed to be divided in their opinions about the Harry Vogue cover feature. The Twitter outrage began when Candace Owens, a conservative writer, tweeted how Styles’ wearing a dress on the cover of Vogue is an attack on masculinity. She continued the tweet by saying how society should ‘bring back manly men.’ Her sentiments were echoed by Ben Shapiro, a conservative commentator and other members of the right-wing.
But Styles’ substantial social media following rushed to the defense of their beloved singer. The fanbase, which consists of mainly Gen Z teenagers and millennials, had a completely different view. Several celebrities also supported the singer and social media influencers, including Olivia Wilde, Styles’ upcoming movie director for Don’t Worry. Following Candace Owen’s tweets, social media was flooded with several men uploading pictures of them wearing dresses to show support for Harry.
Styles is not known for his retorts; in fact, he is one of the kindest celebrities ever. But after a week-long discourse about whether wearing a ball gown goes against the definition of a man, Styles posted a picture on his Instagram account. In the photo, Styles can be seen wearing a frilly baby blue suit and eating a banana. The image is cheekily captioned, ‘Bring Back Manly Men.’
Singers like Harry Styles have become bolder with their fashion choices, and are slowly helping blur the lines between the two genders. Several other artists support the gender fluid movement, including Lil Nas X, Billy Porter and Yungblud. They are stepping out of their gendered boxes and venturing into newer and more fascinating avenues.