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Harry Styles is having the time of his life

Words by Rob Chilton

One of music’s most successful – and intriguing – stars returns with his second album

Some pop stars say a prayer before going on stage. Some form a huddle with their band and give an inspirational pep talk. But all Harry Styles needs to do to get himself ready for a show is put on a suit – a really nice suit.

“That helps a lot,” he says. “Just going on stage in a nuts suit with a bunch of sequins makes you feel good, and then you want to play.”

Styles finds himself in the headlines again right now, not for his fashions which have established him as a bonafide modern style icon, but for the release of his second solo record Fine Line, which dropped on December 13. A man of few words, Styles posted a pic on his Instagram (24.5m followers) with a message that read: ‘Fine Line. The Album. Dec 13.’

Wearing Givenchy

He made the record over six weeks at Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La studios in Malibu, Los Angeles. During the recording Styles was partially inspired by an interview David Bowie gave in the late 1990s about creating your best work when slightly out of your depth. The clip contains the line: ‘When you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.’

Bowie is also a style hero for Styles, as is Elvis Presley. “The people I have always admired and looked up to in music, clothes have always been a big part of the thing,” he explains. Indeed, the Brit was heavily linked to play The King in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic of the rock n roll star but eventually lost out to Austin Butler.

Styles' second album is out now

Styles shares Bowie’s fondness for a sharp suit, having often worn Saint Laurent, Gucci and Saint Laurent. For Styles, who often appears with painted nails, getting dressed is about “enjoyment, no judgements. Fashion is supposed to be fun, having fun with clothes and people being who they are.”

Fine Line comes only eight years after Styles and his One Direction bandmates, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, and Liam Payne, burst onto the stage with their debut album Up All Night. Take Me Home, Midnight Memories, Four, and Made in the A.M. followed, propelling them to the highest levels of fame. Malik was the first to crack and left the band, which led to a split in 2015.

Styles, with his charisma, strong voice and songwriting abilities, was a dead cert for a solo career and surprised the music world and his fans with a warmly-received, self-titled soulful debut album in May 2017.

One Direction way back in 2011

While Styles is now on his second solo album, two of his ex-One Direction bandmates are releasing debut solo records. Liam Payne’s LP1 arrived on 6 December, while Louis Tomlinson unveils Walls on January 31. Currently the face – and physique ­ of Hugo Boss’s bodywear range, Payne said, “There’s definitely some sort of competition there, for sure.”

While musically, the trio may battle it out in the top 10, there’s only one winner in the style charts and that’s Harry Styles.

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