Usually sex-inspired clothing leans more towards womenswear. Take Tom Ford’s latest hot-pink breast plate as seen most recently on Zendaya, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Zoe Kravitz. Most women enjoy showing off their bodies and designers cater to that.
Granted provocative dressing is nothing new in menswear, dating back to the 70s with Vivienne Westwood’s desire to make punk fashion the it thing, it is having a resurgence. The harness, rooted in queer culture, originated from San Francisco’s gay leather scene in the 1960s. The gay community was unapologetically open about their sexual preferences and desires, something straight people were not comfortable with at the time. The harness represented an alter ego if you will, expressing, as Noah Barth of the Leather Archives and Museum told Hypebeast, a “function in a bondage context including suspension, restraint and being able to pull on someone or lead them.”
So why is it just now gaining traction?
Things started to change when straight menswear designers embraced the accessory and styled high profile straight male celebrities in the harness. It started with Helmut Lang’s Spring 2002 show and then again in Rick Owens Spring 2015. Louis Vuitton seems to be owning this trend for the past several seasons.
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In 2018, Chadwick Boseman arrived at the ESPY Awards in their white harness. Later that year, Timothee Chalamet shocked the Golden Globes in a glitter gothic harness and Michael B. Jordan wore a multi-colored harness to the SAG awards. The platforms that these celebrities hold was the beginning of a confidence boost for the straight community.
As wellness and fitness continues to trend, men are more willing to showcase their body. The upturn of the harness is proof that today’s modern man is more fluid and experimental in their fashion style. Men now value accessories and enjoy a provocative angle offering in this highly saturated fashion world. Whether or not the general public will take to this red carpet trend remains to be seen.
However, so many famous men embracing the harness makes us wonder, what trend is next?