What does Harry Styles’ taste in furniture tell us about ‘Harry’s House’?
The pop star’s latest album cover featuring an upside down, sparsely decorated room could hint at a new style chapter, says Alfred Tong
Friday 25 March 2022 By Alfred Tong
What separates a great pop star from an icon? Some would say, taste. There comes a point when it has to be about more than music, or fashion, for that matter. Whether it’s David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, Madonna or Kanye West, the artist creates a whole aesthetic universe that you want to immerse yourself in. What’s the name of the font on the album cover? Who did the art direction? Sometimes a set of chairs or a bunch of flowers can be signs of a total creative revolution.
The album cover for Harry’s House, the forthcoming Harry Styles album, is a case in point. Firstly, why is he upside down? Have all those magic mushrooms he’s been munching on given his creativity a new, surrealist edge? Or, just as likely, maybe he wants us to see him in a different light.
The man who doubled down on the colour-drenched, maximalist baroque of Alessandro Michele’s Gucci, is now on a chill vibe. The image, especially the shabby chic, mid-century furniture, put together by set designer Patience Harding (who has worked on Gucci campaigns) recalls the art school bohemia of Hockney’s portrait of Celia Birtwell and Ossie Clark. Meanwhile, the slightly sun-washed and tonal colour palette of the photo has the matter-of-fact intimacy of 1990s photographers such as Nigel Shafran or Corinne Day.
The last time a British pop star made such a dramatic statement with interiors was when Bryan Ferry embraced chintz for his Chelsea bachelor pad in 1981. The lemon drapes, chandeliers and florals were put together by none other than Nicky Haslam to look like an Irish country house, and was featured in the first issue of The World of Interiors. Like the best art or pop music, it was a genuinely shocking statement of style, and helped to set the aesthetic and creative tone of the rest of his career.
Time will tell whether this album cover will have quite the same impact, but for now it certainly feels right for the post-pandemic trauma that many of us are still recovering from. We may have been let out of our houses, but our homes and closest friends now mean more to us than ever. And who wouldn’t want to micro-dose on shrooms and hang out in a house like Harry’s?