IF there was one trend we weren’t expecting from the Spring/Summer 2019 collections, it was the harness. The accessory, often associated with Christian Grey and the kinkier end of the BDSM spectrum, has finally made its mainstream debut – and on the red carpet, no less.

The first sightings included that of figure-skater Adam Rippon’s appearance at the Academy Awards last year. Riding on the high of his winning streak at the Winter Olympics, Rippon stepped out onto the Oscars red carpet in a Moschino tuxedo accessorised with some leather straps. Past that point, nothing else from that event mattered.

The show-stopping ensemble kicked off the conversation about fetish-inspired style, a trend that truthfully was already ever-present, if only in the underground circuits. “I think fashion is all about self-expression and I chose to wear what I wore on the red carpet because I felt cool AF,” Rippon tweeted following his style shake-up. “Everyone should take risks, be bold, and not give a $#%%. It’s LOTS of fun.

More recently, Timothée Chalamet brought out that bold style at the Golden Globes. He sported a slightly more subdued, bedazzled harness by Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton. The house was quick to issue a correction, saying that it was an “embroidered bib”. That fooled nobody – by then it was (rightfully) perceived as a harness.

Timothée Chalamet in his custom Louis Vuitton embroidered bib at the 76th Golden Globe Awards.

Kris Wu was also spotted on the front row of the Louis Vuitton Men’s FW19 presentation in an asymmetrical harness that was further accessorised with silver ornaments.

Now just two days ago, it was Michael B. Jordan who shone a spotlight onto harnesses/bibs when he appeared on the 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards red carpet in a watercoloured style with the signature Louis Vuitton Monogram — again by Abloh.

While Rippon and Chalamet’s fashion choices were celebrated, the reception of Jordan’s outfit was a little more critical. Case in point: though the harness is a trendy, clout-chasing accessory, it still requires finesse to pull off. In Jordan’s case, the colours  stuck out like a superimposed galaxy against his black suit.

Michael B. Jordan in a custom watercolour monogrammed Louis Vuitton embroidered bib at the 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards.

It’s hard for the menswear industry to capitalise on trends. Usually, fashion cycles comprise just variations on colours, patterns, and tailoring cuts. Putting on a new piece of fabric that radically changes the entire look is what we need today.

Fortunately, Abloh delivered. Just take a look at his designs for Louis Vuitton Men’s Spring Summer 2019 and you’ll agree that it has potential to be more than a fad.

The harnesses (or bibs) designed by Virgil Abloh for the Louis Vuitton Men’s Spring 2019 collection.

It’s also important to note that the trend of harnesses (or bibs, depending on who you ask) manifested in just a month. Who knows what tomorrow’s fashion hot take will be?

written by.

Josiah Neo

Josiah Neo is a tech writer who contributes occasionally to the fashion and travel beats. When he’s not busy keeping up with the keynotes, he’s probably stuffing his face with the best Melbournian donuts (at Shortstop, BTW) or watching his favourite esports team, the LA Valiant, pummel their opponents into oblivion.

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