The December issue of American Vogue has become one of the most talked about, and sought after, issues in its 108-year history. Musician and actor Harry Styles graces the first ever solo male cover of American Vogue, and it’s a joyous one at that.
American Vogue has long been an iconic figure in fashion, often considered the pinnacle of the fashion world. For many generations of avid readers, the publication is read practically as a bible of knowledge of the industry. The pages of American Vogue encapsulate the moment, celebrating the new and the now. Recent years have seen a new freedom in creativity, and a celebration of self-expression, come to the forefront of the fashion world. Boundaries and limits from years gone by are being pushed against and broken down into new possibilities. American Vogue amplifies and celebrates the voices pushing for this change in the industry, and indeed, which better cover star to reflect this celebration of individuality than Harry Styles?
Styles, and his stylist/friend/long-term collaborator Harry Lambert have cemented Styles as one of the most stylish people on the planet. Long gone are his X-Factor days of skinny jeans, Abercrombie tees and Jack Wills hoodies – Styles graces the cover wearing a tiered tule ballgown with cropped blazer, created especially for the shoot, by Alessandro Michelle for Gucci. Inside the shoot, the high-fashion credentials don’t stop; JW Anderson, Bode, and Wales Bonner, just to name a few. Editor-at-Large Hamish Bowles notes that boundaries do not exist in Styles’ approach to fashion. The shoot showcases Styles’ own particular brand of androgyny and personal style; the only aim, to be enjoyed.
The cover, the shoot, Styles himself – they all come together in one collective mission statement. When the arbitrary lines of gender in fashion are blurred, creativity and joy can thrive.
“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”
Whilst Styles’ solo cover may be a first for American Vogue, this playground for creativity is not lost on other teams at Condé Nast. We can, for example, look to the teams at GQ, Vogue and Allure Korea. Male and female cover stars appeared in almost equal frequency in 2020 across these publications; the notions and boundaries of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ fashion give way to fashion for purely fashion’s sake.
Vogue Korea September 2020, available here.
GQ Korea January 2021, available here.
There is no limit to who can enjoy fashion, reading fashion magazines, or indeed who can grace the cover of Vogue. As Styles’ states in his Vogue cover story, “Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment and play with. What’s really exciting is that all of these lines are just kind of crumbling away.”
You can purchase your copy of American Vogue here.