Harry Lambert on Putting Harry Styles in Pearls and His First Clothing Collection

But it’s interesting, I’m a really big fan of pop culture and pop culture moments, but I love the idea of being behind the scenes. I never came into this job being like, I want to be front and center. I really enjoy getting people ready and then sending them on the way and seeing the reaction. So it’s interesting that in the last several years we’ve become more of a focus. It’s a lot of adjusting to that, and getting out of my comfort zone, which is getting easier. But I dunno, I feel the job of a stylist is so broad now that it’s literally the dream job.

Mark Kean

Mark Kean

Tell me more about your relationship with trends. I think some people would assume that stylists are kind of responsible for building trends. When you work with your clients, it seems to me like you’re trying to do something totally different.

It’s a funny thing. With Emma Corrin for example, we put them in the green Miu Miu underwear set, and I guess that’s a trend. But the intention wasn’t because it was on trend. It was more like: that will be sick and amazing. It’s a weird thing to say, but I always want to try and be ahead, I don’t want to follow what other people have done. But then you are taking looks from the runway, and you’re executing those trends, or starting them, I guess.

But when it comes to working on an album cycle with Harry [Styles] or something like that, we plan out custom outfits and an overarching theme. And maybe the themes don’t fit into the runway trends, but then we work with brands to create those looks and then they become trends. I don’t know. It is interesting. I always wonder when the stylist thing started to become more front facing. Maybe Rachel Zoe was probably one of the first, and I think Law Roach as well, those stylists are the ones that brought us more towards the front.

But it was American thing. We always talk about it here [in London], back in the day, Katy England and Alister Mackie and Bryan McMahon and Katie Grand used to do all the music videos. I think Katie Grand did a Spice Girls one. Alister Mackie did a Robbie Williams one, and everyone’s wearing archive McQueen in one of the videos. Here we had those stylists doing that, but talent dressing was a bit of a dirty word, and you did it in the background to make money. Whereas I think in America it was much more of a positive thing. And now all stylists want to work with talent.

A number of stylists I’ve talked to say that the talent side has gotten really challenging recently because there are so many people to dress, so many events, and so few looks. There’s also so much more scrutiny on their work, and things like brand deals at play. What’s your perspective on that?

Yeah, it’s hard. There are a lot of TV shows now, and there’s a lot of music. So there are a lot of people that want dressing. And I’m really lucky that I have lots of people approach me to dress them. But I have this mentality that if I can’t give you enough of my time, I don’t want to do it. I need to be fully in, and I really need to be in on the project, really relate to that person, and feel like we can work together as a team. And it is hard. I went through a phase when I was reading too many comments about my work. It was so out there and it really, at one point it affected me, and Twitter was all dramatic, and I was just like, I’m not looking at this anymore. And now I’m fine with it, but there’s a lot of scrutiny. But I think if people aren’t debating what you’re doing, then you’re not doing something right anyway. If someone over here doesn’t like what Emma Corrin’s wearing, good, they’ve noticed.

Right, and not every moment or look has to be for everybody.

Exactly. I always think that a lot of the best fashion moments in history have been outfits that people don’t understand or get.

What looks come to mind in particular?

The Björk swan dress. Celine Dion wearing the [John Galliano] jacket back to front. Or even the guys from South Park wearing ball gowns on the Oscars red carpet, or Alexander Skarsgård wearing just underwear. I prefer when people are debating. When Emma Corrin wore the JW Anderson fish dress, for me, seeing the comments made me so happy, because it was pleasant that so many people actually did get it. We’re never doing it to shock, but I think audiences of red carpets are actually way more hungry for fun rather than just loads of boring dresses and suits. Everyone’s still horribly critical, but I think they’re a little less critical these days if someone’s taking a risk. I think people get criticized now if they just turn up in a black suit. Guys can’t get away with black suits anymore.

Mark Kean

Mark Kean

One thing that strikes me about your work is that everything your clients wear, even if it’s straight off the runway, looks like it’s been pulled right out of their closet. How do you achieve that?

Well for example, me and Emma were friends first before work partners. But look, Emma has really great personal style, so I have to give credit to that. And I think we’ve always gone on a journey together in working out what they want to wear or how they want to wear things. And it’s about complete transparency and dialogue.

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