Vogue is an American fashion and beauty magazine that launched in 1892. The magazine generally caters to fashion trends and features style icons, mostly women, on its cover. Before the Vogue December 2020 edition, only nine men had ever been featured on the cover of the magazine. Interestingly, all of them appeared along with women. That changed when Harry Styles made his debut on the face of the iconic magazine.
Harry Styles is widely known for his versatile and unique fashion sense. His Met Gala look in 2019 made headlines in all the fashion blogs. He continues to be one of the most prominent names in contemporary fashion, with his stylish street looks and bold choices. But none of these garnered as much attention as the Vogue December 2020 cover. Everyone commented about the British pop singer’s outfit selection, from fashion influencers to big-name celebrities to right-wing politicians.
Styles is the first-ever solo male to appear on the cover of Vogue in its 127 years. As a result, Vogue’s cover story not only gained attention on social media, where Styles has a significant fan base, but also among top fashion influencers and brands. The long-awaited cover received praise and criticism all at once because of the outfit that the singer donned.
Styles’ fashion choices have come a long way, just like the singer himself. In his early One Direction days, Styles usually wore preppy suits or baggy jeans and polo shirts. He slowly moved on to skinny jeans and YSL leather boots, along with floral printed shirts. However, this was just the beginning of his fashion journey.
After going solo, it was commonplace to see Styles’ carry an off-the-runway Gucci look for his concerts. Styles moved from suits to high waist pants. This is evident in his Fine Line album cover. His unique choices always kept his fans on their toes, so there was no big surprise when the singer emerged in an evening gown on the cover of American Vogue December 2020.
Harry Styles claims that he is inspired by the likes of David Bowie, Elton John, Freddie Mercury and Elvis Presley, both in terms of their groundbreaking music as well as their vibrant and daring fashion choices.
Harry Styles’ Vogue cover, photographed by Tyler Mitchell, focuses on the singer standing in a field wearing a baby blue ball gown holding a blue balloon between ring-clad fingers. The Golden singer wore a custom blue Gucci dress from the AW20 collection and a tailored Gucci tuxedo jacket. The dress, designed by Styles’ friend and Gucci’s creative designer, Alessandro Michelle, was initially light pink but was customized for Styles’ in a periwinkle blue. The color change draws attention to traditional gender roles, where blue is perceived as more ‘masculine.’
For Vogue December 2020, Harry Lambert and Camilla Nickerson styled former One Direction star. Aside from the controversial blue gown, the photoshoot included various androgynous looks like kilts and sweater vests, large skirts with fitted blazers, dress shirts and baggy pants.
After the Vogue December 2020 edition release, the internet seemed to have opposing views on Styles’ fashion cover. Conservative writer Candace Owens tweeted that Styles wearing skirts on the cover of Vogue was an ‘attack on manhood,’ which sparked a massive debate on Twitter. The tweet went on to say that society should ‘bring back manly men.’ Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro and several other right-wing members echoed her views.
But Styles’ large number of followers on social media scrambled to defend their favorite singer. His fan base was composed mainly of Gen Z teens and millennials, who had completely different views. Several celebrities have endorsed the singer and influencer on social media, including Olivia Wilde, who directed Styles’ upcoming film “Don’t Worry Darling.” After Candice Owens’ tweet, social media was filled with several men posting photos of themselves wearing skirts to express their support for Styles.
Styles is generally not the type to respond to hate tweets; he is known to be one of the kindest celebrities in the industry. But after a week of arguing on Twitter about whether wearing a party dress violated the definition of a man, Styles posted a photo of his Variety cover on his Instagram account. In the photo, Styles is wearing a flowy periwinkle blue suit while biting a banana. The image is captioned, “Bring back the manly man,” a curt diss to Candace Owens.
Vogue December 2020 was a landmark edition. It heralds a more tolerant and gender-neutral future where people are free to make fashion choices.