Photo: Javierosh

What does it take to make the hottest band in the world look incredible? No one knows better than Caroline Watson. She styles Harry, Liam, Niall, Zayn and Louis–from their X-Factor days to their present fame. Brodie Lancaster interviewed Watson about helping each band member evolve into his signature look, in the glare of the spotlight and in the eyes of the fans.

What was that original concept you pitched?

I had this idea that I wanted them to be like the male equivalent to the Spice Girls, but being kind of cool. When I say “the Spice Girls,” I mean being in a group but having an identity. Everyone wore different things and no two girls looked the same. I wanted to create that with the boys. It was obviously a big Simon Cowell project, but I don’t think anybody knew how much it was going to blow up in the way in which it did. I think the look had a lot to do with that. Because people buy into nice things, you know? And it was my job to make them look great.

Their look really is one of the ways they’ve been set apart from boy bands in the past. One of the things people always say about the band is, like, they might be a boy band, but they’re not all wearing the same thing and walking on a beach.

Yeah, we didn’t want that, I didn’t want that, I didn’t want to work with anybody that wanted to do that. At the beginning I didn’t want them all in black or all in leather—that whole stereotypical boy band thing. When I first started working with them, I had an idea for what I wanted for all the boys: Niall was always going to be my sporty boy; Zayn was always the cool, mysterious one that was quite street but could be quite high fashion at the same time; Harry was bowties, blazers, that guy that you want to bring home to your mum; Liam was the boy next door. I mean, now, Liam’s transitioned and completely grown into this whole new, sexy guy.

It’s always been natural for all the boys as they’ve got older – as with anybody, getting older and knowing this is me, this is what i really want. I love dressing Louis like that, but what I love about him the most is he’s not afraid to turn it up for the red carpet … I love him to pieces and he’s just amazing to dress. They all are, I get such a buzz off them. People are like, “What are you doing in menswear? Why are you doing it for so long?” And it’s because I get a real buzz out of it and I love working with people who appreciate the work that I do. And there’s been such a growth over the years.

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