stop everything, NOW. Fresh off her split from Joe Alwyn, Taylor Swift was photographed in New York on Thursday in an instantly recognizable lineup to anyone who knows her story: she’s once again surrounded by her team.
Swift was seen strutting down the sidewalk alongside an enviable cross section of her gorgeous celebrity friends: the Haim sisters (Danielle, Este and Alana), model Gigi Hadid and actress Blake Lively.
In other words, it’s not just knowledge. They are intimates. It’s a girl squad. It doesn’t matter, does it? Fake.
Throughout the pandemic and the entirety of her extremely private six-year relationship with the reclusive Alwyn, Swift could be counted on to be photographed by the paparazzi perhaps once a year. She would usually be masked or gloved, her scowling boyfriend by her side, both wearing matching Hunter boots or casual hiking clothes.
But in the two weeks since news broke of her split from Alwyn, Swift has hit the town hard, still in style and still surrounded by celebrities. And always, conveniently, in front of the paparazzi. First there was his dinner with producer Jack Antonoff and his fiancée, Margaret Qualley; then there was another outing with Lively and Ryan Reynolds; and now we have this mini sidewalk fashion show featuring six impeccably dressed stars, led by Swift in the center.
Swift hasn’t been seen like this in public — single, camera-ready, flanked by celebrity friends — since her pre-Alwyn heyday. 1989 era, an emblematic but divisive era. To her detractors, Girl Squad Taylor was perhaps the pinnacle of Swift’s grumpiness. Photos of the pop star flanked by gaggles of leggy models inspired an estimated 1 million thought pieces debating whether the squad was feminist, anti-feminist, both, neither or all of the answers above.
For another fine illustration of this era, consider Swift’s epic (and equally polarizing) series of 4th of July parties, held annually at her sprawling Rhode Island estate from 2013 to 2018. For each summer party, Swift invited members of his touring company, longtime besties like Lively and the Haim girls, and a handpicked group of additional celebrity friends: Emma Stone, Andrew Garfield, Nick and Joe Jonas, Karlie Kloss, Cara Delevingne, St. Vincent, Josh Kushner… you get the idea. Almost everyone agreed that the team was boring, the parties were pompous, and Swift herself was insufferable.
All evidence of these patriotic outbursts has been removed from Swift’s Instagram to pave the way for her retaliation Reputation era in 2017. But after several years and Grammys, a cultural reassessment of Swift’s work, and a major rift, it looks like her tag team days are back. Will the return of his 4th of July parties follow? Is the output of her re-recorded 1989 (Taylor’s version) also on the way? We hope to find out in the next few months.
For now, however, the team’s return seems to mark a turning point in the Swift universe. He’s a megastar who’s known for carefully planning everything and shaping his image – a strength or an annoyance, depending on who you ask – and who wouldn’t get caught up in paparazzi lenses so often if it wasn’t for some larger purpose. By being photographed surrounded by friends on Thursday, she visually references a time when the general public could not have been more irritated by her. the totality. And in doing so, she communicates that public opinion, for her, is irrelevant at this point.
She’s halfway through what’s shaping up to be one of the highest-grossing concert tours in history, 33 and single. If that’s not feminist, what is? (Do not answer.)