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CODY FERN covers Man About Town 2021, Chapter 1

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Cody Fern

The actor, style muse and Ryan Murphy favourite is doing things his own way, eager to be defined by more than just his career choices.

If there is one image that springs to mind when you think of Cody Fern, it might be from the Golden Globes, back in 2019. This was in the Before Times, when red carpets were still a thing, and there was Fern, decked out in Maison Margiela. Black Tabi boots, black high-waisted trousers, and a black buttoned-up blouse, sheer from the shoulders up. It was the kind of outfit that seemed to make the whole world stop and wonder, perhaps collectively: who the fuck is that? Soon, they would all find out.

Until that point, Fern had been best known for appearing in The Assassination of Gianni Versace as David Madsen, the second victim of serial killer Andrew Cunanan. But he now found himself at the centre of a “gender-fluid fashion” moment, an overnight style icon who would soon feature on the cover of a certain gentleman's magazine under the headline: “Hollywood’s genderfuck rebel”.

“I knew exactly what it was going to do,” he says now, of the reaction the look generated. “And the thing is, I didn’t give a shit.”

Had he changed fashion? Had he tipped the very concept of gender on its head? Even Fern is unconvinced (“did we forget about Bowie?” he asks). But what he had done is walked into the Margiela store in LA and bought the outfit himself, right off the rack, because no one had wanted to dress him for the awards. That would change very quickly.

“I had been playing the game of wearing the suit with the nice tie and trying to fit in, so there was part of me that thought fuck that,” he says of his style up until that point. “So doing that at the Golden Globes? It was actually for me. It was like shedding that skin.”

Five months later, Fern was in New York. It was May, Met Gala season, and that year’s theme was “Camp: Notes on Fashion”, based on an essay by Susan Sontag. Lady Gaga had four outfit changes; Harry Styles wore an all-black ensemble with sheer sleeves; Shawn Mendes wore, well, a suit. But Fern wanted to change expectations the way he had done at the Golden Globes, and he knew just the way to go about it...

Cody Fern wears Maison Margiela on the cover of Man About Town's SS21 issue. To read the full cover story, pre order the issue now.


Photography: Daniella Midenge 
Fashion direction: Nicola Formichetti 
Hair: Peter Gray 
Fashion assistant: Hunter Clem 
Words: Jake Millar
Editor: Mike Christensen
Editorial Director: Huw Gwyther 

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