by Selina Dufner
First of all, with this cover, Harry Styles became the first man to ever land a solo cover on Vogue, and while that achievement alone is simply groundbreaking, it doesn’t stop there. Styles teamed up with his good friend and creative director of Gucci Alessandro Michele, and a collaboration between them is always a guarantee that something absolutely extraordinary is bound to happen; whether it is the eye-catching outfits they wore to the Met Gala in 2019 or the design of a t-shirt to celebrate Styles’ Fine Line album and to support the Global Fund for Women by donating a fraction of the proceeds. Shooting for the December issue of Vogue was no exception.
On the cover image, Styles wears a jacket, rings and – yes you heard it right – a dress designed by Michele. To those who are familiar with Styles’ fashion sense, the choice of clothing might not come as such a surprise. Earlier this year, he attended the Brit Awards dressed in a brown suit and a black pair of Gucci Mary Janes – a perfect combination of masculinity and femininity.
“You can never be overdressed. There’s no such thing” he explained in an interview for Vogue. “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. Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with. What’s really exciting is that all of these lines are just kind of crumbling away. 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 into 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. There’s so much joy to be had in playing with clothes. I’ve never really thought too much about what it means – it just becomes this extended part of creating something”.
You can definitely count on Harry Styles to break those barriers. That statement is a reminder that men wearing dresses has been done, and quite normally so, by many great rock heroes of the past. While Styles idolised the likes of Bowie and Mercury, there are surely many boys out there who look up to Harry Styles, see that cover, and become more confident in wearing whatever they want to. It teaches them to stop worrying about whether their clothes are to other peoples’ tastes, or not ‘manly’ enough.
It is also worth taking a look at the talented photographer behind the shoot, Tyler Mitchell. At 23, he shot the cover of Vogue’s September 2018 issue. He is not only the first African American, but one of the youngest photographers of all time to shoot a Vogue cover. Mitchell takes pictures for fashion campaigns and an example of that is the JW Anderson FW20 campaign. What else is there to add other than: Where is my copy?