When you hear the name Harry Styles, you might think of One Direction or his recent win at the Grammys for his third solo album. You might think of the movies he has starred in recently. Or, you might think about his incredible style throughout his career. From his early boyband days all those years ago to present day, Harry has gone from experimenting with fashion to becoming a full blown style icon and Gucci muse.
Harry's early relationship with fashion played it very safe. In a departure from the black t-shirt that he wore on stage with his band One Direction, he attended Burberry's Spring 2014 runway show in a leopard print shirt with a long black coat. At this time, Harry was known for black skinny jeans and boots. But as he began experimenting with different prints, it was instantly recognized. This same year, he won the Style Icon of the Year award at the British Fashion Awards!
In 2015, Harry began to really break the boyband mold in terms of fashion. Despite his counterparts opting for safer looks, he attended the American Music Awards in a floral, flare-leg suit. The Gucci suit not only marked Harry's departure from typical menswear on red carpets, but it also began a long-standing partnership between him and Gucci. This suit in particular garnered both praise and hate from fans. Years later, when asked what he thinks comes up when you search "Harry Styles worst outfit," Harry correctly guessed this one. Despite this, he claimed to still like this outfit. Regardless of the reception, this was undoubtedly a turning point for his style.
In 2017, Harry embarked on his first solo tour after the breakup of One Direction, which consequently became his breakup with boring clothing. The official uniform of the tour was custom Gucci suits in varying extravagant patterns and designs. Though he occasionally opted for brands like Saint Laurent, his dedication to Gucci was solidified throughout this time. From florals to glitter to harlequin motifs, there was never a dull moment. That year, Harry also broke into acting with his first role in the movie Dunkirk. His red carpet style for the film's promotion included an array of Gucci, Calvin Klein, and Prada suits. With all eyes on him, his style began to be more widely recognized, even calling him the "King of Suits."
The following year, Harry took the stage of his tour in custom Harris Reed. Reed, at the time, was still a student who was relatively unknown in the fashion industry. It was Harry's stylist, Harry Lambert, who got in touch with him, and as Reed told it, "For him to wear my stuff on such a grand stage? I couldn't stop crying for two days." This partnership was not only big for Styles's fashion evolution, but it also put Harris Reed on the map.
In 2018, Harry's relationship with Gucci reached new levels and he was made the face of their tailoring campaign. Despite being connected to the brand for years, this was the first time Harry was made the face of a campaign. It was also the first time he modeled for a fashion brand, a milestone in his rendezvous with fashion.
The following year, the culmination of Harry Styles's fashion led him to be made co-chair for the Met Gala. The theme was "Camp: Notes on Fashion," and Harry attended alongside Gucci's Creative Director Alessandro Michele. The sheer top and extremely high-waisted trousers made headlines and received tons of praise for straying from the tradition of men wearing plain black suits at the event.
In 2019, Harry made history by becoming the first ever solo male cover star of Vogue. The issue featured clothing from Gucci, Harris Reed, and JW Anderson. In the cover story, he discussed his relationship with fashion saying, "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." This encapsulates Harry's journey with fashion. He is not trying to change the industry, he's just having fun with clothing as a means of expression.
The cover, which featured Harry in a Gucci dress, was highly controversial when the issue was released. Conservative commentator Candace Owens criticized the cover and Harry for the feminization of men, making the claim "Bring back manly men." On the contrary, many people found the cover to be refreshing. Director and actress Olivia Wilde shared, "It’s pretty powerful and kind of extraordinary to see someone in his position redefining what it can mean to be a man with confidence."
Harry's latest fashion venture, which launched late last year, is a collaboration with Gucci called Gucci HA HA HA. The collection is the creation of Harry Styles and Gucci's Alessandro Michele, and it was unveiled in Milan during Men's Fashion Week. Full of vintage style suits, t-shirts that reference Harry, and an abundance of accessories, the collection's campaign was modeled by none other than Harry himself. This long-awaited collaboration was the culmination of not only Harry's journey with fashion but his relationship with Gucci and Michele.
Though he has only been in the public eye for less than two decades, Harry Styles has managed to move from music to film to fashion seamlessly. From his early boyband days spent experimenting with an occasional pattern to becoming a full-blown Gucci muse, his style evolution has been one of the most interesting in pop culture today.