Pop star Harry Styles has played around with androgyny and traditionally feminine fashion for years, and some recently resurfaced outtakes from the "Watermelon Sugar" singer's 2019 Saturday Night Live hosting gig has once again reminded fans that he has no fear of playing with gender performance. In the outtakes from the usual SNL shoot, Styles is dressed as the Disney princess Ariel from The Little Mermaid. The photos went viral on Twitter as people were divided over the photos. While some people praised Styles' fashion choice, others were quick to share their annoyance as well.
Complete with a mermaid tail, seashell bra, and red wig, Styles doffs a glass of champagne in the charming photos. Ironically, Styles was a frontrunner to play Prince Eric in the upcoming live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid but turned down the role.
Photos of Harry Styles dressed as Ariel from ‘The Little Mermaid’ have resurfaced. pic.twitter.com/YICYiIDIew— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) April 16, 2021
"Men are so threatened by Harry Styles that they get mad when he wears a costume, it’s funny," tweeted one fan. "I love the word 'resurfaced' here as if this is a problematic scandal and not just him dressed as a fish," joked another.
20 years from now, we’ll still be talking about the legend Harry Styles. pic.twitter.com/4pHl5XWU2a— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) April 16, 2021
In his 2020 Vogue cover shoot and interview, Styles explained that dressing up had long come naturally to him. "You can never be overdressed. There’s no such thing. The people that I looked up to in music—Prince and David Bowie and Elvis and Freddie Mercury and Elton John—they’re such showmen. As a kid it was completely mind-blowing. Now I’ll put on something that feels really flamboyant, and I don’t feel crazy wearing it. I think if you get something that you feel amazing in, it’s like a superhero outfit."
"Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with and play with," Styles continued. "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. I’ll go in shops sometimes, and I just find myself looking at the women’s clothes thinking they’re amazing. 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. I’ve never really thought too much about what it means—it just becomes this extended part of creating something."