This story appears in conjunction with HIGHTech, A Magazine by Highsnobiety. Our new issue, presented by Samsung, includes exclusive pages of interviews, shoots, merch, gadgets, technical gear and more. Order a copy here.
Lil Nas X penetrated the cultural consciousness with “Old Town Road” in early 2019. Debuting on TikTok, the track was a post-viral hit that became the longest-running number-one song since the charts began, welcomeing six Grammy nominations, and re-contextualizing country music (and Billy Ray Cyrus) for a new generation.
Naturally, to sustain this cultural momentum, Lil Nas X needed a style that was bold, iconoclastic, but also spoke to his thematic interest in the old West and the new era of pop music he was trailblazing. Cowboy looks were on the come-up, and Lil Nas X (and stylist Hodo Musa) brought the western archetype into the digital, hyper-referential age of modern fashion with a hyper-saturated flourish.
Of course, revolutionizing Western-wear was just the tip of his sartorial iceberg. Below we’ve revisited six of his key looks.
Lil NaSssss X
At the 2020 Billboard awards, Lil Nas X arrived in a pale green Gucci snakeskin print suit. The ’80s vibes were abound with pastel-pink lapels, a pussy-bow blouse, and also crimped hair.
For the AMAs, the singer arrives in a lime green Christopher John Rogers suit with a zebra print shirt, a pair of matching square-toe heels by United Nude, and diamond jewelry from Sophia Brandhe. Shoulders? Padded. Waist? Snatched. Blazer? Cropped. Us? Also considering zebra print gloves for winter.
Not His First Rodeo
This custom studded leather Versace look infused Lil Nas X’s signature style with some BDSM-like detailing on the harness and mesh undershirt, finished off with two bandanas around each wrist.
Leopard Print Redux
There’s never quiet moment in Lil Nas X’s wardrobe, or if there are, we don’t see them. Here, in a suit by Tom Ford, Lil Nas X shows how to mix leopard print with an unexpected color palette, a grandad collar shirt, and boots that are black to match.
Lil Nas X doesn’t just show up to red carpets, he serves looks. This silver suit by Christian Cowan was the first red carpet appearance, inspired by Prince, for Lil Nas X at the MTV VMAs. The two would later collaborate again on a punk-inspired capsule to support queer youth in Atlanta.
The caption speaks for itself.