In a Spin
How Mr. Taylor Swift, Calvin Harris, Became An Armani Underwear Hunk
Calvin Harris was once a gangly DJ. No longer: His pecs and abs are on fine display in Armani’s underwear campaigns.
You may have seen them everywhere: flawless pecs, chiseled abs, and a bulge that snugs a pair of Armani underwear almost too perfectly.
Calvin Harris, who became the face of the Italian label this year, embodies a modern-day Adonis. His perfectly sculpted physique towers on billboards and adverts across the world.
It’s a fairytale transformation for the 31-year-old Scottish DJ who has been making headlines for more than his high-paying gigs (he was named the highest paid DJ of 2014, according to Forbes).
He’s also dating Taylor Swift, a bombshell beauty who has dominated the pop kingdom—and Billboard charts—for the past year.
Together, they are ranked the highest paid couple of 2015, according to Forbes. At $146 million, they trump Beyoncé and Jay-Z by a cool $36 million. They act candid for the paparazzi, post dreamy snaps on Instagram, and primly pose at award shows.
But Harris wasn’t always so red carpet-ready.
When he was discovered on MySpace in 2006, the DJ had just abandoned a short-lived music pursuit in London and returned home to Dumfries, Scotland.
His wardrobe consisted of ill-fitting jumpers with wacky patterns, logo tees and neon-colored bottoms. He was awkwardly slim. He dyed his unruly hair dark. He wore bedazzled sunglasses in public.
His carefree style reflected the neon haze of the EDM (electronic dance music) fanatics he would later be entertaining by the masses.
Harris released his first studio album, I Created Disco, in 2007. He began appearing regularly on BBC Radio 1 and reached No. 10 on the UK Singles Chart.
It even caught the attention of Kylie Minogue, who asked him to co-write and produce two songs on her 2007 album X.
By 2009, Harris was gaining traction within the British music community. He was working with local legends like rapper Dizzee Rascal and Example as well as Tiesto and The Ting Tings.
He released his second studio album, Ready for the Weekend, the same year. It debuted at No. 1 on UK Charts and was certified gold within two months. His fan base continued to grow and so did his collaborations and partnerships with some of the most successful names in the business.
Rihanna enlisted Harris to join the European leg of her “Loud” tour in 2011, telling British outlets that he was “the perfect fit” for the tour and would bring something “unique and fun for the fans.”
That same year, he was scheduled to open for Katy Perry during her “California Dream” tour, but backed out due to production issues. It caused quite the Twitter spat between the two and ended with Perry saying, “it’s fine, I’m used to you cancelling on me, it’s become ur staple!”
Harris also collaborated on singles with Ne-Yo, Florence Welch, Kelis, and Ellie Goulding, all of which were released on his third studio album, 18 Months, in 2012. The album broke records in the UK, becoming the first album to have nine Top 10 singles. Not even Michael Jackson had reached that mark.
His production of Rihanna’s “We Found Love” became his first U.S. #1 Billboard track. It was named one of the Top 10 dance collaborations of all time and garnered him a Grammy win for Best Short Form Music Video in 2013.
As the single blared in almost every radio station and club across the world, Calvin Harris had officially become a household name.
And with that, his physical transformation had begun to take hold.
Harris’s wardrobe became more streamlined. He sported plain white tees, dark denim jeans, an occasional tailored button down. He shed the hair dye, and embraced his naturally blond locks. It become more tightly cropped and evolved into a much more sophisticated look.
Physically, the wayward days of an awkward youth were rapidly disappearing. His arms and chest were bulking up. His face was filling in and becoming more defined.
Having made the decision to move to Los Angeles in 2012, Harris cited healthy food options as one of the many reason for his transformation.
“The food is fantastic over here,” he told The Sun in 2009. “You can eat healthily, there’s a lot more healthy options than in the UK—that’s a fact.” He revealed that his morning routine consisted of egg-white omelets with smoked salmon and spinach and a trip to the gym before hitting the studio.
In 2013, he was officially the highest-paid DJ in the world. In the years that followed, he had been romantically linked to Kesha, Ellie Goulding, Victoria’s Secret model Anne V, Rita Ora, and model Aarika Wolf.
Harris released his fourth studio album in 2014, which featured hits by Alesso, Ellie Goulding, HAIM, Gwen Stefani, and Tinashé.
Blame it on success—the ability to afford personal trainers, nutritionists, and a stylist—or the prying eyes of the media and millions of subscribers around the world, but there’s no denying that Calvin Harris has officially become a regulation hottie.
And Armani took notice.
“Calvin Harris is a truly cosmopolitan, dynamic young man who is capable of attracting the masses with his music and energy,” Armani told WWD late last year. “He isn’t a model by nature, and this creates a more sincere and engaging bond with the public.”
In other words, Armani really liked his hot bod, too.
The Harris campaign for Armani, which includes watches and eyewear as well as clothing and underwear, prompted a slew of images of the 6-foot-5 Scot in dapper-looking suits and stripped down to his skivvies to appear around the globe.
“It’s incredible to be working with Mr. Armani and his team at Emporio Armani,” Harris told WWD. “I feel an affinity to the brand ethos and have been a longtime admirer of their designs.”
In other words, World, you have no idea of the pain involved in getting this body, underwear-ad ready, so darn well enjoy it.
Shortly after the campaign launched, Harris revealed part of his workout regimen in the caption of a shirtless selfie on Instagram.
“On tour but also training for the next Armani shoot!” Harris said. “Staying in a gym routine while on the road is tricky, but as long as you don’t drink, eat well, sleep enough and take one of those mad little ab rollers with u everywhere you’ll be good.”
“Calvin’s transformation is really great,” exercise and lifestyle coach Russell Bateman, who has worked with many celebrities, told the Daily Mail. “I mean he’s really got into epic shape and he was super tall and quite skinny to begin with.”
Bateman attributes hydrating, eating lots of protein and vegetables, staying away from sugar and keeping up with exercise to Harris’s epic transformation.
“I think he will tell you it probably took time and effort over a significant period because great physiques are built over years and not weeks,” he added. “His priorities obviously dictated his choices, so even though he was touring and probably distracted by the party lifestyle he had his goals in mind.”
With a second campaign for the Fall/Winter announced on Monday, we commend Harris for sticking to his goals and giving the world some delicious eye candy to indulge.