Before excited fans sang their hearts out to Harry Styles during Love on Tour, his cross-country tour in support of his album Fine Line, they were greeted with a question: “Who the F is Jenny Lewis?”
Illuminated on a jumbotron, the seemingly loaded inquiry hung in the air above the stage, illustrated with an outline of Lewis, the flame-haired singer-songwriter known for fronting indie-rock band Rilo Kiley before embarking on a solo career. Below, Lewis’s sequined silhouette took the stage to introduce herself. Now, as they laid eyes on this sparkling figure, dazzling beneath the lights, the audience started to get a sense of exactly who the “F” she was.
“When we first did sound check, I was like, Okay, there’s that catwalk. I better walk down it because, if not, it’s a missed opportunity to be creative. I’m walking down the catwalk. I’m 45 years old in my very tight sparkly dress…There’s one moment during the set where I reached my hand up as high as I could, and it felt so amazing…. I’ve never been able to move my body like that onstage before I started wearing these stretchy sequin gowns. I can really go for it,” Lewis tells Vanity Fair.
Love on Tour, which played arenas from September through late November, served as style inspiration for concertgoers, fusing Lewis’s enchanting, offbeat looks with Styles’s glam-rock, boa-topped ensembles.
“There were some nights that I couldn’t believe how similar our costumes were…. I would put on a new Fort Lonesome suit, and Harry’s look would be the same. We’re totally aligned like that,” she says, name-checking Kathie Sever’s chain stitch embroidery Westernwear company. “You get swept up in the zeitgeist…I would see someone in [the audience in] the light sparkly pink Gucci sunglasses and I’m like, Oh, my God, I have those!”
While this encounter with Lewis might have been the first for many of Styles’s Gen Z fans, she’s been an influential force in music and fashion for much of her life. Before forming Rilo Kiley in 1998, Lewis worked as a child actor, appearing alongside Lucille Ball and in 1989’s Troop Beverly Hills. While performing with the band, she released her groundbreaking solo debut, Rabbit Fur Coat, in 2006, laying the foundation for three more albums: Acid Tongue (2008), The Voyager (2014), and On the Line (2019).
Years later, her impact remains palpable. Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee sports a Rilo Kiley tattoo on her arm. In 2019, Lewis was immortalized in an Archie Comic that featured a cartoon version of the singer surrounded by other characters lauding her in speech bubbles as “the fashion idol of my youth,” “songstress of our collective feelings,” and an “all-around babe.”