How Harry Styles and Alessandro Michele Are Revisualizing Male Rock Stardom
As the muse of Michele’s Gucci, the British music icon is unraveling traditional masculine aesthetics.
The British rock star has been the face of Alessandro Michele’s creative House since 2017, when Styles incorporated Gucci looks into each music video from his debut solo album Harry Styles. Dressed by stylist Harry Lambert, his first tour saw him in an array of bespoke outfits by Gucci—no longer was Styles just the former One Direction member, straight from a boyband to the center stage; now, he was a fashion icon, too, changing the pop game and the uniform it necessitates.
Styles’ wardrobe is synonymous with glam. His performances and awards show looks are riddled with brocade, with plays on texture and color, mixing traditionally feminine pieces with destructured menswear or expertly tailored suits, tight at the waist and flaring into bell-bottoms, ruffles, ribbons and bows never terribly far away. He nearly broke the Internet wearing a Gucci dress on the cover of Vogue, and at the 2019 Met Gala, his sheer, torso-revealing outfit with a dangly earring was viral within minutes of him stepping onto the pink carpet.
A face of Gucci under Alessandro Michele, Styles is a fashion figurehead, now, putting elegant and sophisticated touches whenever he steps out. Even in casual, daily looks, he’s often seen with a pearl necklace and his signature rings; back in 2019, Michele and Styles even collaborated on a unisex Gucci tee, which Styles himself paired with printed trousers and a pair of suspenders.
Styles is often heralded for breaking gender norms, for mixing womenswear and menswear as if there were no distinction between the two. Other musical artists have undoubtedly done the same—Andre 3000, Bad Bunny and Jaden Smith come to mind when thinking of male artists wearing skirts—, yet Styles is distinctive in the game for being a major player of Gucci, a pillar of the surreal florals, fantasy fun, magical vision of Alessandro Michele.
Before Styles stepped onto the scene (and even largely with him on the scene), the standard uniform for a male singer was much more traditionally masculine. At awards shows and events, simple black tuxedos were the way to go; onstage, some variant of denim and leather, possibly a plain tee shirt, never a decadent, extravagant suit with frills and embellishments in hot pink or canary yellow.
Yet under the genius of Harry Lambert, Styles is a fashion mogul, even making headlines for showing up to the 2021 Grammy’s in a feathered boa.
It’s one thing to make a fashion statement, but another entirely to have an entire look associated with your brand; one can almost always expect to see Styles in some array of a blazer, tapered trousers and some gleaming jewels. His collaborations with Gucci have changed the music and fashion game for men—boldness and ingenuity is synonymous with expression, and in radical departures from the masculine norm, Styles achieves both. His aesthetic vision is, at the moment, unrivaled; whatever comes next is sure to top the look previous to it.