Bad news travels fast. Every year during awards show season our feeds are filled with images of fashion mishaps and risks that didn’t pay off – remember Celine Dion’s backwards tuxedo? It, among other ill-fitting separates and humdrum gowns throughout the years, is still seared into our minds perhaps more than the actual awards. But at this year’s Golden Globes Awards, the outfit that left people with the most questions was also one of the most well-received.
What’s even more unusual is the fact that it was worn by a man.
When Timothée Chalamet debuted his Louis Vuitton sequined harness on the Globes red carpet, the internet lost its collective mind. The "Call Me by Your Name" breakout star dawned the bespoke harness over an all black ensemble, sparking debates over the terminology (was it technically a bib?) and elevating himself to a sex symbol in the eyes of many. Amongst the mixed reception was Chalamet himself, admitting he wasn’t aware of any connotations the piece may have to BDSM, and he honestly didn’t even realize what he was wearing was, in fact, a harness.
While many of us (like our Beautiful Boy) are new to this trend, this is hardly its first time in the public eye. Taking a slightly different form, harnesses spread like wildfire among pop stars like Lady Gaga and Rihanna in 2011.
Unlike Chalamet, these pieces were worn because of their risqué connotations. The scandalous incorporation of bondage gear into everyday looks has been explored thoroughly in female fashion, from Versace’s ’92 Bondage collection to those strappy Urban Outfitters bralettes that every college student was wearing just a couple of years ago. The harness’ beginning in female fashion was all about power and control, a wave of feminism through the political power of fashion.
Just a couple of weeks after Timmy’s sequined harness made its waves, Michael B. Jordan wore a more colorful version of Timmy’s harness to the Screen Actors Guild Awards over his suit. Designed by Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton, the "Black Panther" star’s look cemented the power of the harness trend within menswear. With a simpler, more structured architecture than the wide variety of female harnesses, this version has been a staple in gay and LGBTQ+ culture for years, yielding the same political purposes. After Jordan’s appearance, Abloh spoke of his design, calling it “empowering.” In a recent interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Abloh called his designs "bibs."
So what does it mean that this statement is making its way into men’s fashion? Like any other art form, fashion is cyclical. Elements that may have once been niche or specific to a group of people are passed around as trends evolve, and what starts off as avant-garde can eventually become mainstream. And at the end of the day, mainstream trends come down to one question: how does it look?
Bottom line is, even though Chalamet may have been oblivious to the connotations of his Golden Globes look, he still looked great, and that’s what matters.