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Liam Payne has his former One Direction bandmate’s back. During a new interview, Payne defended pal Harry Styles, who was criticized for wearing a dress on the cover of Vogue magazine. Payne noted that there are more important things happening in the world “than whether or not he’s wearing the right clothes.”

One Direction attends 102.7 KIIS FM Jingle Ball 2015
Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson of One Direction | Mike Windle/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Harry Styles came under fire for wearing a dress

Styles sported a Gucci ballgown on the cover of Vogue’s December 2020 issue. He explained in the cover story, “Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with and play with. What’s really exciting is that all of these lines are just kind of crumbling away.”

He added, “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.”

Not everyone thought his Vogue style was appropriate, with conservative commentator Candace Owens commenting on Twitter: “There is no society that can survive without strong men. The East knows this. In the west, the steady feminization of our men at the same time that Marxism is being taught to our children is not a coincidence. It is an outright attack. Bring back manly men.”

Styles responded in an interview with Variety, who named him Hitmaker of the Year for 2020. “To not wear (something) because it’s females’ clothing, you shut out a whole world of great clothes,” he explained. “And I think what’s exciting about right now is you can wear what you like. It doesn’t have to be X or Y. Those lines are becoming more and more blurred.”

The singer took to Instagram to post a photo of himself posing for the Variety article, wearing a light blue suit with a ruffled shirt peeking from underneath — while eating a banana. He had the best caption that fought Owens’ criticism of him: “Bring back manly men.”

Liam Payne supports Harry Styles

During an interview on the Capital FM Breakfast Show (via The Sun), Roman Kemp asked Payne his thoughts on Styles’ attention-grabbing Vogue photos.

“He’s not someone to ever really cause controversy,” Kemp said, “I mean, kind of looking through this year, the only thing that was the most talked about thing was his Vogue cover and his reaction to it was perfect.”

“I mean what did you make of it when you saw him on the cover of Vogue?,” he asked.

Payne weighed in and he’s squarely in Styles’ corner, offering up support for his 1D bandmate. “Oh I thought it was great, I think he’s enjoying himself and he’s free to do as he wishes and you know I just think that people don’t need to be so bothered about stuff,” Payne responded.

He continued, “There’s been a lot more stuff going on this year than whether or not he’s wearing the right clothes in someone else’s mind.”

“Just let him go on with it, he’s enjoying himself,” he added.