For as long as anyone can remember, the cover of GQ has always reflected the fashion and beauty trends that were hot and cool at the moment of publication. From Christian Dior’s glamorous photoshoot with Kate Moss in the 1980s, to the rise of the ‘millennial man’, represented by Vogue’s Miele cologne cover in the 2010s, the influential British men’s magazine has continued to lead the way in shaping trends and shaping culture.

And then there was Robert Pattinson. Suddenly, the fashion world’s darling was gracing the cover of GQ not once, but twice – first in 2012, and then again in 2019. In the two years since his second cover story, the international media and fashion spotlight has been firmly fixed on the 29-year-old Los Angeles-born actor. His high profile celebrity dates back to the Harry Potter films and the vampire craze that kicked off with the 2011 blockbuster, ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1’. But it’s been the publication of GQ that has helped to make him a household name. In February 2021, the magazine celebrated reaching its 40th anniversary with a bang by holding a lavish party at the London Flatiron Building – now known simply as ‘The Flatiron’ – which was graced by high profile guests including David Beckham, Cara Delevingne, Katy Perry and Storm Harvey.

Harvey, the host of the event, told the attendees that “40 years ago, when GQ was founded, it was a completely different world. In fact, the magazine changed the way we all look at style, beauty and lifestyle.” The following week, the magazine celebrated reaching 100 issues with a big sale in which multiple magazine copies were on offer for just £3.19 with free delivery.

Now, with the release of the first trailer for his highly anticipated new film, ‘Birds of Prey’, premiering this weekend, we take a look back at Robert Pattinson’s time in the spotlight and the impact that his GQ cover stories have had on fashion and beauty culture.

From Twilight To Beauty

It was back in 2012 that Robert Pattinson first graced the cover of GQ, having shot to fame as a result of his role as Christian Grey in the ‘Twilight’ film series. For the record, he also appeared in ‘New Moon’, ‘Eclipse’ and ‘Breaking Dawn – Part 1′ – the final part of the ‘Twilight Saga’. Along with Kristen Stewart and co-star Emma Stone, Pattinson helped to spearhead an ‘adult fairy tale’, revolutionising romance and sex appeal on screen and in bookshelves.

In addition to his work in ‘Twilight’, the actor has also appeared in such films as ‘The Great Gatsby’, ‘Love And Glory’, ‘Solitary Man’ and ‘The Last Witch Hunter’. He’s also graced the covers of other fashion and lifestyle magazines including Elle, Vogue, GQ Japan and Interview.

The multi-hyphenate has also been a face on the front lines of beauty – specifically skin care product advertising. Since 2012, he’s appeared in a string of product advertisements for big name brands such as Dior, Chanel, Tom Ford and YSL, among others.

A House Party At The Flatiron

It was at a party organised by the fashion company Jacadi that Robert Pattinson’s second cover story for GQ magazine was announced. The actor was in the middle of promoting his latest film at the time, ‘Midnight Sun’, released in 2019, and despite his busy schedule, he made the time to attend the party for the magazine’s 100th issue celebration.

The film starred Reese Witherspoon and reportedly cost around US$13 million to make. Producers Brown Richards and Andrew Kosove and CEO Harvey Weinstein held a special screening of the film for the cast and crew at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills a few days before the party at the Flatiron.

The event was a celebration of sorts. Not only was it the magazine’s 100th issue, but it was also the grand finale to a fashion and beauty-themed ‘house party’ that the magazine had organised in collaboration with a number of high profile guests. The publication’s editor, Richard Simmons, opened up the floor to questions from the audience, which included representatives from WGSN, a popular television channel in the UK.

“I’m a huge ‘Twilight’ fan and couldn’t resist the allure of the vampire,” he said. “But the real appeal of [R.Pattinson] is how he brings a level of humour and warmth to the role. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and that’s a breath of fresh air. Like a fine wine, his appeal has certainly increased with age.”

Perhaps the most prominent guest at the event was Cara Delevingne, best known for her frequent collaborations with designer Karl Lagerfeld. The French fashion house Chanel also held a special event at its Paris hotel, the Chanel Imperial Hotel, to commemorate its partnership with the magazine. Models such as Emily Ratajkowski, Liya Kebede and Joan Smalls attended the celebration. The house party also featured food and drink from some of the world’s top-tier restaurants, including Philippe Starck’s beloved Les Trois Rois restaurant in Paris. The ultimate dessert at the celebration was of course a flourless chocolate cake created by pastry chef Pierre Hermé.

Beauty And A Beard

While Robert Pattinson has always been lauded for his looks, it’s been his unkempt facial hair that has really stood out. The actor sported a full, bushy beard for his first few major film roles, most notably as Fauntleroy in the 1994 film, ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’. Since then, he’s frequently been in demand for film and TV roles that demand a rugged, mature look. He’s been known to sport a full, shaggy beard for role after role, creating what some have referred to as a ‘beardspiration’.

As a result of this, fans have long awaited developments in his personal life, particularly his relations with women. It was after the release of ‘Twilight’ that the actor began to gain a reputation as something of a ladies’ man. A series of magazine articles from that time was highly suggestive of a blossoming romance with the film’s co-star, Emily Browning. The actress reportedly even went so far as to propose marriage to Pattinson during the filming of ‘Eclipse’, the third film in the ‘Twilight’ series – the actor turned down the proposal, but the pair remain friends.

It wasn’t just magazine articles that speculated on the possibility of a relationship between Pattinson and Browning. Many blogs and forums dedicated to the ‘Twilight’ fandom began to surface during this time too, with some bloggers going so far as to suggest that Emily’s maternal grandmother might even be the girl next door. One of the more prominent examples is Hello Winkle, which bills itself as the ‘most famous lifestyle blog in the world’ and has well over a million followers on Instagram.

“I think that ‘Birds of Prey’ is going to be one of his biggest films yet, both commercially and critically,” says Hello Winkle. “There’s a lot of buzz surrounding it and it looks like it’s going to be pretty badass.”

The ‘Winkle’ blog has been hailed for its accurate predictions and uncanny ability to spot trends – it was the first to report on Elon Musk’s now-famous ‘yacht club’ and the rise of the ‘millennial man’, among many others.

It was during this period that Robert Pattinson’s star rose high enough for him to be the subject of a documentary by ESPN, which profiled his personal life and his acting career. Entitled ‘The Making of a Game Changer’, the film was accompanied by a series of interviews with the actor as well as several appearances by the subject himself. The project won the Sports Emmy for Outstanding Arts Documentary and was named one of the Best Sports Films of All Time by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).