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If September Fashion Weeks told us anything, it’s how to interpret a harness

Words by Tim Grant

See also: progressive belting.

If you’re a fan of Timothée Chalamet’s Met Gal bridle, or you liked it that time Halsey wore a belt instead of the top half of her outfit, then you’ve seen this coming for a while.

The next six months are all about looking ready for take-off.

I touched on the progressive belting present in a few recent menswear collections last month, but it requires closer attention now the full gamut of responses are before us. September’s assorted Fashion Weeks featured a fun range of buckles and straps that can give your upcoming summer some heat.

Traces of BDSM-style leather have been bouncing subtly around the runway, but I’ve found the buckled leather and silk pairing a little softer this time around. In these Spring 2020 collections, the harness is used to give simple pieces a structured silhouette, and wardrobe basics an extra kick.

Mugler and Dion Lee roared into 2020 with their sleek yet playful lines. Dion Lee, in particular, managed to work the harness form into almost half the pieces on the runway. For the bold among us, I suggest trying out the harness-garter hybrid attached to thigh-high boots.

Mugler offered a softer interpretation of this strappy moment with lingerie detailing fused into blazers and bodysuits. The collections peaked, personally, in the shoulder-snaring gloves that wound around the torso along the collarbone. Whether they’re fashioned as tops or accessories depends on how adventurous you’re feeling, and how far you’re willing to stretch the definition of ‘top’.

It may have been Haider Ackerman who was the most committed to this belting craze (again, see Timothée Chalamet). The collection began with a T-shirt constructed from woven sashes fused together like a futuristic corset.

By the end, every second outfit was cinched with a belt twice the width of its model’s arm. Ackerman closed the season with a series of dresses that featured coloured lace ribbons threaded through bodices.

Hermès followed suit by building belts into each of its dresses, and adding buckles to every possible pocket. The collection bore a high-end-fashion-cum-cargo-pant vibe, and was completed by double-ended zipper detailing and pleated leather.

A few other brands fastened their garments together with straps. Givenchy buckled multiple dresses to themselves and wrapped excess fabric around its models’ necks and waists. My favourite trans-seasonal item – the belted jacket – came in patent tan leather this time around. You get the gist.

If you feel like participating in this sartorial In-Flight Safety interpretation, keep your eye out for dresses with some assembly required, or just a massive belt you can wrap around a blazer.

I’m not sure where you’ll be able to find a harness, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

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