Wwalking down the narrow aisle to the studio of stylist Harry Lambert, I can’t be the first person to wonder if Harry Styles “Lambert’s most famous client,” stepped on the same blue carpet. That’s not what Lambert would tell me. Making him talk about Styles is like getting blood from a stone. “All right, look,” he says. “When it comes to questions about Harry, I just consider our relationship too private to go into depth. You have to remember that I am there in the most intimate times with people I work with. I’m often the last person they see before they go on stage. It’s an intimate space! I realize that much of the attention I get is from him, but I want to be very careful. But let’s try. OK. Go. ”
Harry met Harry around the time of One Direction’s 2014 album, Four. Rumors of a solo career circulated, and Styles went through his “Jagger period” wearing black Saint Laurent costumes, Chelsea boots and lion hair domesticated by light bandits – a fashion filtered through NME rather than GQ.
Lambert mostly styled magazine shoots and fashion shows when they were presented to each other. He presented a wardrobe (“playful stuff, Gucci and JW Anderson, stuff like that”), and Styles agreed to give it a whirl. What appeared is best described as a 1970s man, resurrected – flaming, with a camp side. Styles have always been a game, he says, “but when it happened, it was still like, ‘Fuck, this is wild.’
The fashion industry has swallowed it. From the pure black blouse and pearl earring at the Met Gala 2019, to the tight purple overall Arturo Obegero in the video to As It WasStyles became the most crucial pop music undermining sexual stereotypes.
Lambert was central to this, sort of Thomas Cromwell to Henry VIII of Styles, but dissolving binaries instead of monasteries. Not that he sees it that way: “Look at this [gender stuff], I would like to be everything: ‘I wanted to change the world!’ But it’s more of a byproduct of what we do, ”he says. “If you look at pop icons over the years, fashion is such an integral part of their image as Björk in the swan dress, Britney in the school costume. I realize that what I’m doing has an effect, but is that the agenda for me? No. ”
We sit on a bench in the community garden behind his two-bedroom studio in Hoxton, East London. In one room, platform shoes spill out of an Ikea Kallax unit. In the other, clothes rails are sitting. Lambert, 35, is warm and talkative, with a gentle East English accent and short bleached hair. He wears wide-legged Marni pants in a brown plaid, large black pearls and a T-shirt lightly stained for breakfast.
Celebrity stylists are relatively new. In the golden age of Hollywood – Lambert’s favorite era – actors were styled by the studio’s costume designers. In the early ’70s, the studio system was over, so stars dressed up, which didn’t always go well (Google any Oscar ceremony in the 1980s).
It lasted until the mid-00s and Rachel Zoe – who turned her frame (Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan) into avatars of her thin self, and is rumored to have commanded. $ 10,000 a day – that stylists have become as famous as their clients.
Today, the red carpet is an economy in itself, built on the (often false) idea that what celebrities wear is an extension of their personality rather than, say, a mutually beneficial marketing tool mediated between a label, a celebrity, and a stylist. No one knows how much money changes hands, but considering that many celebrities require stylists both off-stage and on (the walk-to-the-car-holding-juice suit, can be as much considered as what one wears to the Grammys). ) the famous stylist has never been more powerful. Which explains why some of the big Hollywood – Law Roach, for example, who put Zendaya in warm pink breastplate, or Karla Welch, who put Justin Bieber in extra-long sleeve T-shirts – are well-known names if you live in that. kind of home.
Unusually for a stylist, Lambert has only four clients: Styles, an Everton footballer Dominic Calvert-Lewinand The Crown actors Emma Corrin and Josh O’Connor (each of which has a body double that tries on clothes the day before). Lambert is very much in touch, but usually says no. “I only style people with whom – I’m sorry to sound all LA – I connect, or with whom I can transform. I once styled Kylie [Minogue] “But what do you even do with Kylie?”
It is reasonable to say that O’Connor’s appearance is the most conventional. Highlights include a navy double-breasted sailor suit with ceramic buttons from SS Daley, worn to last year’s television Baftas, “but it’s always a bit twisted, or blooming,” says Lambert. “It can never be conventional – I hate that.”
Corrin, whom he met through a friend, appeared strange last year, and uses clothes to communicate this. “There is pressure on girls in action to be sexy, to be a bomb, to have [their] bobos out. Emma is sexy, but it’s about playing with people’s perceptions of what’s beautiful, ”says Lambert. I say that the Loewe dress and balloon bra she wore to the Olivier Awards in April certainly felt like a joke. “The Oliviers are a little suffocating, so we thought, ‘Let’s do something most people won’t get,'” he says with a laugh. “It’s a conversation, but in a dress. Even the Daily Mail loved it. “
As with all stylists’ muses, there is a duty to wear designers if they are attached to them – Corrin was the face of Miu Miu, Styles of Gucci, and O’Connor of Loewe. But using vintage pieces as well as pushing smaller designers such as Daley, Edward Crutchley and Harris Reed, whose sex-flow designs later arrived at the Met Gala, Lambert is trying to adjust the power balance.
Earlier this year, he turned down the opportunity to appear on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter. “I didn’t get into this job to be on a [magazine] cover. Fashion is scary, fashion week is scary, “Lambert says.” There are ‘faces’ like Anna Wintour, and then there are people like me. “
But because of his work – and because of social media – he’s a kind of face. “Someone took my picture on the bus and tagged me this week. So I’m famous for a particular group of people. ”The Harrys have nicknames for each other (Lambert is Susan, and Styles is Sue) and the internet is having fun with their relationship, with Reddit threads dedicated to unpacking what these Again, Lambert won’t comment, but it seems like an effective way to differentiate between two people named Harry.
Growing up in Norwich, Lambert liked clothes, not fashion. He cycled through trends known for millennia (the skateboarding emo phase, the Abercrombie & Fitch ripped loose jeans phase) and, at school, drifted to art. He studied photography at Rochester University and while he loved the storytelling side, he stumbled upon the techniques, and instead spent his summers interning at various magazines.
He then moved to east London, just at the end of a nu-rave. “I entered the industry right at the end, right after [the recession], when everyone had money, but also just before styling became a thing, ”he says. He got a job as a business stylist – including a stint at the fast-fashioned “factory” Asos, and later Topman, but his damascene moment “was jewelry”. Booties‘roller skates on a shoot’.
His most recent client is Calvert-Lewin, one of the few footballers who doesn’t dress as if he was vomited from a bank. Last winter’s Arena Homme + cover, in which he wore a flared short suit and a bright pink Prada handbag, was a blue-tick Lambert look – high-fashioned with an androgynous twist. Is Lambert a football fan? “No. I had to do half a season at Norwich City – Delia Smith’s team – when I was a kid, but only to escort my little brother. “
You just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people. However in football, external expressions of so-called femininity are few and far between. Is Lambert trying to lead a conversation about sex by introducing this fashion into the Premier League? Lambert laughs again. “I didn’t bring the handbags to Dominic. He has three or four Chanel handbags of his own. But just because someone is an honest man in the football community, and has a handbag, that shouldn’t be a big deal. “But it’s a big deal, I say, in a good way.” [football] industry can be, so seeing a man with a Chanel handbag is … something. But everyone is trying to reach that market, ”he says of fashion and sports. “At the time, if you liked clothes, you were gay. Now be careful what you look like – it’s almost normal. “
It’s no surprise, then, that Gucci recently signed an ointment footballer Jack Grealish to face a future campaign. At the mention of his name, Lambert moves around, then denies any knowledge of the signing. I would put a dozen on him to be involved.
“I think how men’s clothing changes,” he says. “The Loewe aesthetic will be the next super-brand for young people like Balenciaga and Vetements. [two of the brands responsible for luxury logo streetwear] rewrote what was cool. You can see it happening. ” To translate, Lambert means clothes that are beautiful and surreal, without knitwear and a lot of color. Like Styles’ famous rainbow cardigan – feminine and fun. “It’s the vibration switch, yes.”
“When I’m gone,” Lambert says, “I just hope it’s stupid stuff like putting Harry. [Styles] in pearls and that men can wear necklaces and it shouldn’t be a thing – that’s the thing I want to be remembered for. That and when people dress like Harry for Halloween. “He claps his hands.” It means we did something that had a cultural impact. It means we got through. “