Harry Styles has become the first man in history to land a solo cover of American Vogue, breaking the magazine’s 127 year long all-female streak.
What Styles’ feature has gained most attention for, however, is the Gucci dress he has been pictured in. The androgynous style that is gaining popularity has been praised by Styles’ fans, with Harry claiming in his Vogue interview, “there’s so much joy to be had in playing with clothes. I’ve never thought too much about what it means—it just becomes this extended part of creating something”.
— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) November 13, 2020
Following the release of Styles’ second album, Fine Line, in December 2019, the singer has become more involved with the fashion sphere than ever, representing Gucci and independent designer S. S. Daley in his latest music videos for Watermelon Sugar and Golden.
Styles has credited his long-term stylist and friend Harry Lambert for helping him to discover his personal wardrobe tastes, noting “he just has fun with clothing, and that’s kind of where I’ve got it from”. He now believes that “you can never be overdressed. There’s no such thing. The people that I looked up to in music—Prince and David Bowie and Elvis and Freddie Mercury and Elton John—they’re such showmen. As a kid it was completely mind-blowing. Now I’ll put on something that feels really flamboyant, and I don’t feel crazy wearing it. I think if you get something that you feel amazing in, it’s like a superhero outfit”. Lambert can be credited for styling Harry in the iconic JW Anderson rainbow patchwork cardigan that blew up on social media platform TikTok earlier this year, leading Anderson to release the knitting pattern for free, which fans began re-creating – and that is just one aspect of Styles’ fashion influence.
— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) November 15, 2020
It is, arguably, Styles’ attitudes towards fashion, and women’s clothing in particular, that qualified him as Vogue’s first rule-breaker, bridging the distinction between menswear and womenswear in print. On this separation, Styles says “when you take away ‘There’s clothes for men and there’s clothes for women,’ once you remove any barriers, obviously you open up the arena in which you can play. I’ll go in shops sometimes, and I just find myself looking at the women’s clothes thinking they’re amazing. It’s like anything—anytime you’re putting barriers up in your own life, you’re just limiting yourself“. Whilst the magazine has typically been a female-centric space, what year could be better for changing the status quo than 2020?
However, critics of the magazine’s unexpected move have expressed their disappointment that the first person chosen to represent androgyny and gender-fluidity in Vogue was not a transgender or non-binary person, who they claim should be credited for making unisex clothing trendy.
I think the Harry Styles shoot is cool but I can’t help but think abt how trans and non-binary people get ridiculed for wearing the same outfits and never make the cover of Vogue :/
— Cumulo-dingus (@Garre_Bearrr) November 14, 2020
Despite this criticism, Styles’ appearance has been well-received by his supporters and high fashion fans alike, solidifying his position as one of this year’s top style icons for all genders. As well as discussing his wardrobe evolution, Styles also talks philosophy, going solo, his acting career, his relationships, and the Black Lives Matter uprising with Vogue’s Hamish Bowles, focusing on how he is currently educating himself and “taking the right steps”. Read more of Styles’ history-making interview at Vogue.com.