Harry Styles on the cover of a gardening magazine is the best move he ever made

'It stands to reason that the publicity surrounding the release of his latest album 'Harry's House' would be as avant-garde as the man himself'
Harry Styles on the cover of a gardening magazine is the best move he ever made

Harry Styles performing at the Grammy awards. Picture: Kevin Winter/Getty 

Sexy, surprising, engaging. Launched on the lily pad of reality television via boyband One Direction, Harry Styles has spent the years since his exit from the group metamorphosing into the quintessential modern rock star. Far from the knit-wearing surfer dude he was curated into on the X-Factor, his journey so far has revealed him to be a deep thinker committed to challenging our perceptions of what is sexy. 

At the second weekend of Coachella earlier in the month he stomped on stage with Lizzo, twinning in matching pink outfits while the duo delivered a raucous version of Gloria Gaynor's 'I Will Survive' followed by One Direction's famous hit 'What Makes You Beautiful'. 

If that wasn't enough, while wearing a stunning mirrored catsuit, he teamed up with Shania Twain to sing 'Man! I Feel Like a Woman'.

Iconic and entirely deliberate, Harry has spent his solo career celebrating women performers of all ages, races and sizes. More effervescent than in his boyband days, Styles is the ultimate champion of powerful femininity; hinging his own sartorial exploration against stars who have developed their own brand of sex appeal.

A man who knows how to play the media game to absolute perfection, it stands to reason that the publicity surrounding the release of his latest album 'Harry's House' would be as avant-garde as the man himself. So, what better publication to place an interview bearing his soul and discussing his sexuality, than in a home and garden magazine?

Harry Styles Better Homes & Gardens. Picture: Instagram
Harry Styles Better Homes & Gardens. Picture: Instagram

Talking to Lou Stoppard in Better Homes & Gardens from the side of a public outdoor pool in London, Styles is at once a mega popstar and average Joe. Speaking of his love of outdoor swimming, he says it is a great leveller. "I feel like people who have discovered cold water swimming are just so happy for you that you've also found it."

Styles addresses his sexuality in the interview, in terms of the sense of expectation he felt as a member of one of the world's largest boybands. "For a long time, it felt like the only thing that was mine was my sex life. I felt so ashamed about it, ashamed at the idea of people even knowing that I was having sex, let alone who with."

He released his chart-topping self-titled debut album in 2017 and his second offering, Fine Line, in 2019, which peaked at number two in the album charts.

Reflecting on his first solo album, the singer says he felt that he could not make “fun music” on the back of his time in One Direction if he wanted to be “taken seriously as a musician”.

Harry Styles performs at Coachella April 2022. Picture: Instagram.
Harry Styles performs at Coachella April 2022. Picture: Instagram.

While with his second record he felt “freer” but he became concerned with making “really big songs”.

He explains his priorities for this upcoming album are different: “Finally it doesn’t feel like my life is over if this album isn’t a commercial success”.

It will be a commercial success though. The album is full of earworms and foot tappers, and the image Styles is portraying in his gardening interview is gritter and sexier than we've seen him before. There is a heart-stopping shot of him half-submerged in a garden pond, wearing a pair of knickers and a woolly jumper pulled just over his midriff that confirms it.

Harry Styles masters the art of the unexpected. He could have continued on the route that Simon Cowell paved for him, and had a great career of ballads and love songs against a backdrop of music videos filmed on beaches with roaring waves and lots of chin stubble. Instead, he chose himself. 

It's not easy to buck the trend, especially when you found your way in such a manufactured way as Harry Styles has. But his punt has paid off. He is a man of our times. Sensitive, in tune with his emotions with a gimlet eye for style. A musical magpie, he has cherrypicked the best of the bunch and aligned his star with theirs. And who wouldn't want to walk in his light? 

In a grown-up relationship with actress Olivia Wilde and starring as Eros in the forthcoming sequel to Marvel's The Eternals, Harry's House is the cherry on the top of a very well-iced cake. His star is firmly in the ascent, and I would read about his garden any day of the week. 

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