Timothée Chalamet lit up the Golden Globes red carpet — and Twitter — when he posed for photographs wearing what appeared to be a bedazzled harness. Even though Call Me By Your Name’s awards season reign had ended, it appeared Chalamet was still keen on (in the words of Erika Jayne) “giving the gays everything they want.”
But at some point between Chalamet’s photos hitting Getty Images and the show’s beginning, the house of Louis Vuitton issued a statement from Men’s Artistic Director Virgil Abloh, who clarified that the accessory was actually an “embroidered bib.”
Apparently, the clarification fell on deaf ears, because Michael B. Jordan (of Black Panther, Creed fame) showed up to the SAG Awards in another iteration of the harness — excuse us, bib — this time, rendered in Abloh’s Monogram Galaxy print. His look was apparently so declarative that Vogue proclaimed, “the red carpet harness is officially here to stay.”
Before Chalamet and Jordan rocked this version of the look, however, there was Olympian Adam Rippon, who wore a harness-tuxedo hybrid by Moschino to last year’s Golden Globes. Even then, the look sent shockwaves through social media.
Whatever you think of the style, and it should be noted that its naysayers are plenty, it does appear that leather and S&M-inspired elements will continue their appeal in the menswear market. If the recent men’s collections in London, Paris, and Milan were any indication, leather is going to be way on the rise this coming fall.
For Kris Van Assche’s debut collection as the creative director of Berluti, the first look out on the runway was a full leather suit in chocolate brown. Metal and steel elements added a slight nod to the kinky, on leather boots and shoes at Berluti, Raf Simons, and elsewhere. Versace played with bondage elements, as well — going so far as to screen-print harnesses onto actual t-shirts worn by models. MSGM had leather trousers with prominent, silver zippers going right down the crotch, intentionally tempting the eye. And at Loewe, Jonathan Anderson even played with the assless chap — giving it a more modest, colorful makeover with pants or denim worn underneath. Classic leather trousers were literally everywhere — Hermès and Celine included. (Chalamet, by the way, rocked a pair by Celine at last night’s awards.)
The trend became so apparent that one notable fashion editor escaped the front rows to visit local leather shops in Paris, ordering custom pants and accessories for the next season. (Presumably, a harness there is much more affordable than the options by Vuitton or Versace.)
Fashion has a longstanding relationship with BDSM references, all of which have cycled in and out of trends for decades. Kink has been popularized into our visual lexicon by celebrities ranging from Madonna to George Michael, and interpreted by legends like Jean Paul Gaultier to Tom Ford. Even though it may translate to an uptick in sales for the smaller leather shops that have long been a part of our history, it’s probably safe to say that interpreting a community’s aesthetic for “seasonal dressing” will prompt at least an eye roll from our true leather aficionados in the queer community.
But if there is anything “new” about what we’re seeing here (And we choose this word carefully, for what is really “new” anyway?), it’s that mainstream menswear and cisgender, heterosexual celebrities (like Chalamet and Jordan) are swapping in their staid tuxedos for something that may actually be a talking point.
And when it comes to the very boring, very black-and-white world of men’s formalwear, we’ll (reluctantly) give the straight boys (and Mr. Rippon!) kudos for that. In case they need additional ideas on how to play with dress codes, Parker Kit Hill and Torraine Futurum provided alternative inspiration in our February issue.