everything you need to know about harry styles’ new album cover

It's a Fine Line between love and... actually we just love it.

by Douglas Greenwood
05 November 2019, 12:57pm

Well, whaddaya know... Last week, we jokingly asked Harry Styles to gift us his sophomore album as an early Christmas present. Turns out he was listening after all! Yesterday evening, the One Direction artthrob-slash-almost-Prince-Eric announced that the much-anticipated follow-up to his eponymous 2017 debut would land in our laps on 13th December. It’s called Fine Line.

The announcement came with the unveiling of the artwork for the record too: a flamboyant, fish-eye shot of Harry with one hand on his hip and the other pointing to the floor. (Presumably, this is a reference to where he’ll have to pick us up from once the album actually drops and we all, you know, die as a result of how excellent it is.)

So what’s there to know about it, beyond the indisputable fact that it’s really gorgeous?

To start, that’s Tim Walker’s hand

Well, you can tell without reading the credits that Tim Walker is the man behind it. The inimitable fish-eye lens; the fable-esque colour scheme; the subtle campiness of its composition -- it screams his aesthetic from every angle. The set was designed by his go-to collaborator Shona Heath, comprising plush pink carpets and sky blue draping, and from the corner you can see a gloved hand creep into frame. Turns out it belongs to Tim himself, rather than some anonymous assistant who overstepped the boundary. So what’s its symbolism? Maybe it’s supposed to be the viewers hand, held out as if to ask: ‘May we please get a crumb of Harry Styles?’ Or maybe it’s simply there to add another element of sheer sex appeal to a cover that already exudes a dangerous amount of BDE? Idk.

He’s wearing custom Gucci

What we do know is that he’s wearing custom Gucci, in what must be a surprise to absolutely no one considering he’s barely left the house wearing anything that wasn’t designed by Alessandro Michele since they asked him to become one of their faces back in 2018. Styled by Harry Lambert, the outfit constitutes a scoop-neck vest, an unbuttoned hot fuschia silk blouse and some wide-legged, sailor-esque white trousers with suspenders. It’s a look that’s in keeping with his aesthetic for the era (and his solo career) so far; a continuation of the campiness the singer has become synonymous with. In an interview with The Face earlier this year, Harry opined: “What’s feminine and what’s masculine … it’s like there are no lines any more”. Perhaps he was cleverly alluding to the ‘fine line’ he’s treading on the cover of his new record? What we do know is that it’s nice to see the star not constricted by the skinny jeans and Topman hoodies of his 1D heyday. He feels a lot more free.

It’s the first time his face has been on his artwork

Considering he was once grinning from every poster and magazine on the planet, Harry’s taken a slight backseat as a solo artist. He hasn’t actually used his face in any of his album or single artworks to date. The cover of his self-titled debut, in which he bathed in millennial pink, flower petal-flecked water, captured him from behind, his back and wet mane of hair filling the frame. The single artwork for ‘Sign of the Times’ again submerged him in water, though this time he was looking off into a crimson sunset. And as for his latest single, ‘Lights Up’? He’s facing forward this time, but his mug is obscured by shadows. Lurid green lights illuminate the swallow tattoos on his chest instead. On Fine Line, however, he’s in the spotlight for the first time: looking cocksure and iconic with his Chalamet-esque tousled do. We have to stan. More photos of Harry Styles’ face, thanks.

There are subtle references to his debut album’s colour scheme

It might be a new era, but there’s something really nice about how the new album cover makes little nods to how HS set the scene for his first record. The prevailing colours the first time around were those soft pinks and blues; the kind that spurred thinkpieces aplenty about how Harry’s new aesthetic was playing with the codes of masculinity and the idea of the modern heartthrob, presenting himself less as a lothario and more of a softboi. Those two colours dominate the Fine Line cover too, only they’re intensified. How will that play into how the new music sounds beyond what we’ve heard already? We guess we’ll have to wait and see.

It drops on Beyoncé day!

13th December will forever be considered Christmas for pop fans. After all, six years ago on that very day, Queen Bey pulled off the stunt of the century by dropping the self-titled audiovisual album that cemented her status as the most iconic figure in the world of pop. Is it a coincidence that Harry’s label chose this date? Are they trying to make the 13th December the most prolific day in the pop world? Who knows! Either way, we’re just grateful that the record we’ve been waiting for the longest (bar Rihanna, plz come back soon kween) is almost in our grasp. Let the countdown commence.

harry styles album cover fine line

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

Harry Styles
Tim Walker