As of Friday, Nov. 13, the music star and One Direction alum is the first man to appear solo on the cover of the iconic fashion magazine in all of its 127 year history. Cue "Golden."
While it's a historic moment for him as a male, ever the gender-bending artist, the singer appears on the cover of the December issue in a Gucci jacket layered over none other than a dress. The 26-year-old reflected on dissolving rules and gender norms in fashion, telling Vogue, "The people that I looked up to in music—Prince and David Bowie and Elvis [Presley] 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."
Elaborating on his fashion philosophy, the performer continued, "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 and play 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 in shops sometimes, and I just find myself looking at the women's clothes thinking they're amazing."
By ignoring any traditional fashion norms, the star has emerged a budding style icon for a new generation. "It's like anything—anytime you're putting barriers up in your own life, you're just limiting yourself," he told the magazine. "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."
The same can be said for making music. During his interview, Styles reflected on the difference he can tell between his first and second solo albums. "I was very much finding out what my sound was as a solo artist," he recalled of his self-titled debut record. "I can see all the places where it almost felt like I was bowling with the bumpers up."
For his second record, 2019's Fine Line, Styles took the bumpers off. "I think with the second album I let go of the fear of getting it wrong and…it was really joyous and really free," the artist explained. "I think with music it's so important to evolve—and that extends to clothes and videos and all that stuff. That's why you look back at David Bowie with Ziggy Stardust or the Beatles and their different eras—that fearlessness is super inspiring."
While he's an undeniably confident performer today, for any shaky aspiring performers reading, you can find comfort in Styles' stage fright early on in his career. According to the magazine, he often threw up before performances.
"I just always thought I was going to mess up or something," he recalled. "But I've felt really lucky to have a group of incredibly generous fans. They're generous emotionally—and when they come to the show, they give so much that it creates this atmosphere that I've always found so loving and accepting."
Vogue's December 2020 issue is available on newsstands nationwide on November 24th.