Many of us wear a lanyard; it’s a way for ID to be seen, or maybe to keep a set of keys on hand. For some they say: job first, style second – because who cares what you look like when there’s paperwork to do? That was until recently, when the humble lanyard went high fashion.
See Givenchy, which has released its own version for £190 . Prada has also done one, with a highly practical see-through slot for your ID (£260); while at Riccardo Tisci’s London debut for Burberry, passports dangled from models’ necks on what looked suspiciously like lanyards. Further evidence, if it were needed, that it’s cool to look uncool.
Other brands have fallen for the workaday item – ironically, at a price most employees could never afford. A Balenciaga leather lanyard will set you back £195; its cotton cousin, £175. Virgil Abloh’s Off-White has also previously mined the around-the-neck look – its lanyard wallet costs £305 (and has sold out). Streetwear brands Supreme and Palace have their versions, too.
This “workwear” aesthetic was everywhere on autumn/winter 2018 catwalks, which were lit up with neon. It is meant to say something about function: at Calvin Klein there were hi-vis flight suits, while Burberry had highlighter-orange utility coats, ideal for cold days working on construction sites – or wandering around Manhattan. It’s little wonder that some commentators have questioned the class politics of this trend.
Karl Lagerfeld’s latest collection for Fendi was all straps, pouches, big, practical pockets and utility holsters – a look Abloh had previously doubled down on in his first show for Louis Vuitton.
Fashion, it seems, is knuckling down. Yes, the lanyard is utilitarian. But this trend also makes good business sense for luxury brands for which accessories still bring their bread-and-butter income. Lanyards – like socks and bumbags before them – offer a gateway into designerwear. They offer scope for multiple logos to promote the brand, too. Expect to see them all over social media soon.