Stunt or showcase? Harry Styles blurs the lines
Back in the day it was always the women who owned the fashion moment at the glittering award/fund raising events. From Diana Dors to Liz Hurley publicists knew how to grab the zeitgeist. Who can forget Gaga’s meat frock, or Cher and Bjork in headline grabbing Oscar red carpet confections?
Fashion has always had an opinion and leant its voice to political issues and in 2019 it is reaching fever pitch about gender. If you look back a bit, Marlene Dietrich was the first to showcase a blatant androgyny with a bold, sexual questioning behind her couture gender-switching. Great PR means being ahead of the zeitgiest and understanding the mood of the crowd. This brings opportunity to those creative enough to use it and a means to spread a point of view. It’s not that new... Harry Evans used fashion in the form of an Idoho Pototo Sack to prove Monroe was beautiful whatever she wore in response to a journalist’s critique of her high fashion dressing.
Anyway, Harry Styles who has been very quiet of late, sent Twitter into meltdown down last night with his gender fluid times #MetGala black jumpsuit with see-through sleeves, one drop earring, black nails and heeled booties. GQ tweeted “Gucci Boy Prince Harry Styles in a black jumpsuit with a tulle bodice featuring a voluminous pussy bow. He looks like a Hot Goth Jester who oversees a sexy court in outer space”
A refreshing masculine image maybe, but this is a high water mark for male celebs and frankly very few could pull it off. Expect a thousand wannabe blokes trying to emulate the moment and a highway littered with fashion disasters and social trolling. It’s always about the first not those who desperately follow, but Styles and others like him have set the standard and blurred the lines and society had better get used to it. There are no hard and fast rules anymore (apart from in Trumpland; he prefers his female staff to ‘dress like women”)
Brands and PR’s must understand what this means to their voice too. A YouGov survey revealed that 23% of British people choose something other than 100% heterosexual and the LGBT sector has a spending power that can’t be ignored. In turn marketers need to understand that millennials will challenge pre conditioned narratives making the development of multi dimensional conversations essential.
Jump thoughtlessly onto this band wagon at your peril.