Celebrities defend Harry Styles' Vogue cover after critic calls it 'outright attack' on 'manly men'

The fashion-loving singer shows off his eclectic style in the pages of Vogue and explains why he embraces both men's and women's clothing.
/ Source: TODAY

Harry Styles is known for breaking fashion barriers when it comes to his personal style, mixing up menswear with bold color palettes, lacy details and designs traditionally targeted to women — and he just knocked down another fashion norm.

The “Golden” singer has made history by showing off his sartorial elegance alone on the cover of Vogue, a spot which, until now, has been reserved for women and the men who've occasionally appeared alongside them.

And, as a peek at the December issue proves, Styles is right at home on what many consider to be the most coveted cover in fashion.

Harry Styles is the first man to land the cover of Vogue on his own.Tyler Mitchell / Vogue

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“Harry Styles makes his own rules” is written over a photo of the former One Direction star who can be seen pairing a lacy Gucci dress with a tuxedo jacket from the same label, and the photos and interview inside the pages of Vogue bear out that statement.

“Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with and play with,” the 26-year-old explained. “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.”

The singer shows off his eclectic taste in clothes in the pages of Vogue.Tyler Mitchell / Vogue

And that playful instinct has led him to blaze his own trail.

“I’ll go in shops sometimes, and I just find myself looking at the women’s clothes thinking they’re amazing,” he continued. “It’s like anything — anytime you’re putting barriers up in your own life, you’re just limiting yourself. There’s so much joy to be had in playing with clothes.”

Styles says, "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.”Tyler Mitchell / Vogue

Styles certainly didn’t limit himself for the Vogue shoot. In one shot, he’s seen in a Wales Bonner knitted sweater vest and kilted skirt, while in another, he takes the opportunity to team up a zoot suit with a hoop skirt and crinoline in an ensemble from Harris Reed.

“I’ve never really thought too much about what it means,” Styles said of his aesthetic instincts. “It just becomes this extended part of creating something.”

You can catch more of his creative looks for Vogue in an acoustic performance clip of “Cherry” that he shot for the magazine and, of course, in the pages of the December issue, which hits newsstands on Nov. 24.

Not everyone loved the photo series.

“There is no society that can survive without strong men,” conservative pundit Candace Owens, 31, wrote on Twitter over the weekend in response to the photoshoot. “The East knows this. In the west, the steady feminization of our men at the same time that Marxism is being taught to our children is not a coincidence. It is an outright attack. Bring back manly men.”

She doubled down on her statement on Monday morning as she began to trend on Twitter for her comments.

“Since I’m trending I’d like to clarify what I meant when I said ‘bring back manly men.’ I meant: Bring back manly men. Terms like ‘toxic masculinity’ were created by toxic females. Real women don’t do fake feminism. Sorry I’m not sorry.”

However, Twitter users and celebrities alike came to Styles' defense.

"i think you’ve missed the definition of what a man is. masculinity alone does not make a man," Elijah Wood of "Lord of the Rings" fame replied. "in fact, it’s got nothing to do with it."

Actor Zach Braff posted a photo of Styles in a dress and said: "Our whole lives boys and men are told we need to be manly. Life is short. Be whatever the f--- you want to be."

Still more took direct aim at Owens in their responses.

"You’re pathetic," actor and "Booksmart" director Olivia Wilde responded.

"This is just wrong -and silly," Mia Farrow replied to Owens.

Editor's Note (Nov. 16, 2020): This story has been updated to include Owens' response and other celebrities defense of Styles' photoshoot.

Samantha Kubota contributed.