Whenever I consider this Spring’s trend of harnesses and corsets, which I must admit I do with some regularity, there are three words that never fail to pop into my head when I think of all those laces, buckles, knots and bondage: Thai Me Up. Before I know it, I’m daydreaming about all the other brilliant puns that have made me snort thanks to Thai restaurants. Why, there’s Bow Thai, Tongue Thai, Thaifoon, Thaitanic, The King and Thai, Thai Me A River, Thai Ranosaurus... Oh it’s an epidemic, really. Considering this, and how easily distracted I am, perhaps I’m not the best person to be writing this article. Alas, I will anyway, let’s just hope for everyone’s sake that I don’t dwell too long on the subject of great (or not so great, depending on how you look at it) Thai restaurant puns. Rather, I’ll try to keep focused on the topic at hand: Thairiffic Harnesses and corsets as the new accessory trend. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Harnesses and bondage have been peeking their tough little heads out in catwalk collections for a couple of seasons now, however it’s only this season that the trend is truly beginning to bloom and hell, it’s almost become almost normal to wear a harness outside of an S&M studio. Chain harnesses were featured in the Spring collection from Ann Demeulemeester and leather harnesses, paired with casual, simple clothes could be seen in Giuliano Fujiwara’s show. If you were lucky enough to get your hands on a Sass and Bide front-row gift bag, in it you would have found a beautiful - you guessed it - a harness.
Meanwhile, corsets have been spotted on so many celebs it’s actually getting quite ridiculous. The list includes: Katy Perry, Paris Hilton, Eve (of course), January Jones, Lily Allen, Rihanna, Taylor Momsen (isn’t she a bit young?), Scarlett Johansson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mischa Barton, Jessica Simpson, Beyonce and even notorious good girl Jennifer Anniston. But why wouldn’t they? Celebs – get ready for a massive generalisation here – love to expose and exploit and will often wear whatever will garner the most attention. Unfortunately, because of this, the corset trend might not be entirely popular with some fashionistas. When Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan are doing it, you’ve missed the trend wagon, right? Normally, yes. However, in this case, the outerwear as underwear trend is one that’s incredibly flexible (which you wouldn’t think, given that they’re made outta whale bone, wires and leather). To avoid looking like a D List celeb vying for the camera lense, the trick is to layer, layer, and then layer some more.
Wear your leather, chain and waist cinching garments over loose, sheer and cocoon-like clothing. The trend looks best in neutral colours: Lots of nudes, pale pinks, creams, white and blacks. Look to Australian Richard Nicoll’s Fall 2009 collection for inspiration. If you’re a bit curvier, wear your corset under a loose fitting cropped top (or at least ensure your breasts aren’t spilling over) and don’t forget to add a generous pinch of androgony, if only to balance things out. Juxtapose a tight corset on your upper half with some billowing trousers on your lower half. The key is to wear them as accessories, not as your entire outfit. To get your hands on some harnesses and corsets, I’ve found the sweetest rewards come from spending lunchtimes scouring Etsy (try Garbage Dress and iheartnorwegianwood) and eBay, although you can also find some vintage inspired pieces at Supre, if you can bring yourself to enter the place. Otherwise, if you’re really wanting to spoil yourself, check out Bordelle where some wonderful pieces can be found that would almost certainly be worth a trip to the pawnshop. Then there are all those simply amazing swimsuits in the fashion stratosphere at the moment that dance the line between corset, harness, bondage wear and swimsuit. Try the trend soon, before we all get Thai’ed of it, as we all know it won’t be too long before Paris Hilton conditions us to vomit at the sight of anything bondage.