why virgil abloh is bringing harnesses to the red carpet

In a new interview, the Louis Vuitton men’s artistic director discusses the divisive new menswear accessory.

by Ryan White
05 February 2019, 3:31pm

Photography @mitchell_sams

The biggest talking point in menswear this year wasn’t to be found on the autumn/winter 19 runways back in January. Yes, Hedi Slimane debuted an inaugural men’s collection for Celine that built on his classic indie aesthetic, Clare Waight Keller showed her first standalone menswear collection for Givenchy to much applause, and Raf Simons gave us a defiant, David Lynch-themed show not long after his departure from Calvin Klein was announced. But in spite of all this, what demanded the most column inches and Instagram reposts was the the outfits on the red carpet worn by Timothée Chalamet and Michael B. Jordan at the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards respectively. Specifically the harnesses across their suit jackets.

The response online to this bold new frontier in menswear was mixed. “Living for Timothée Chalamet's sparkly harness”, wrote one Twitter user. “Why y'all let Michael B. Jordan step out in that harness? Who's the hater?” wrote another. Timothée went on record to say he never considered it a harness. “I thought it was a bib, they told me it was a bib,” he told Ellen DeGeneres. Michael remained coy about posting his look online, settling for an understated group shot amongst his Black Panther castmates. It must also be noted that the two weren’t the first to don the accessory. Michael’s Black Panther co-star Chadwick Boseman rocked a straight-off-the-runway all-cream number at the ESPY awards back last July, though admittedly the colour-scheme left it a little less pronounced than Timothée’s glittery one and Michael’s pink and purple one.

Speaking to Vogue, Virgil Abloh has now discussed the idea behind his controversial menswear accessories. Referring to them as “mid-layer garments”, and a “keystone” of his collection, he revealed it was the very first piece he designed for LV. “I wore it to the Met Gala… It doesn’t have the comfort or the security of a jacket, but it’s somehow empowering.” The accessory didn’t appear amongst his recent Michael Jackson-themed new collection, save for what might have been a glittery silver one just peeking through a black suit jacket, paired with a matching pair of silver gloves. But given the fashion clout of all the aforementioned, we can’t help but think this isn’t the last we’ve seen of this. Buckle up.

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

Louis Vuitton
Virgil Abloh
Michael B. Jordan
Timothée Chalamet