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Tie me up. Beat me down. There is in fact pleasure in pain.

An eponymous line of accessories that just recently delved into ready-to-wear, Zana Bayne’s tough-as-nails leather ensembles are unforgettable. With an original focus on accessories, Bayne aims at enhancing one’s appearance depending on the way that her designs are worn. Seductive and sleek, Bayne experiments in creating pieces with roots that are within S&M — however, they can be dressed with a more playful, softer touch.

At twenty-five years young, Bayne is Seattle-bred and went on to study sculpture and conceptual art at the San Francisco Art Institute. After, she became immersed in styling and photography in Berlin. Without any background in working with leather beforehand, she let the journey lead her down a dark and sensuous [fashion] rabbit hole. It was through her popular style blog, that Bayne started her creations — showing her new prototypes and designs to customers and testing them out herself. Participating in collaborations with similar labels such as Pleasure Principle and Chris Habana gave Bayne the stage needed to become a name on her own.


Physical restraint can have a negative connotation. It can invoke or exacerbate fear as well as anxiety into an individual. When viewing Bayne’s use of buckles and hard edges, it may appear that these garments are representations of a gory past. Bayne made it clear that one must forget what they knew about previous fashions, and accept with love and gratitude the message that she was sending: Bayne took her attention to detail mindset and created well-constructed garments to give the wearer dignity, serenity and empowerment as an antidote to suffering.


Zana Bayne’s Fall 2014 collection was indeed a milestone: it was her first runway show at New York Fashion Week, and it proceeded with a bang. A bit softer than previous seasons, the Fall 2014 collection introduced more lingerie and intricate designs that snaked around the body. The lines were blurred between what humans classified as clothing, accessories and bondage-tinged harnesses at speeds that couldn’t be measured. Titled Ornamentalist, Bayne’s inspiration stemmed from fifties-era images from L’Officiel and featured black and croc-embossed cowhide and gold embellishments.

Bondage, and of course plenty of leather were overwhelmingly present. Belt straps were used as bras as well as skirts (in which they were elongated). At certain points, some of the bottoms had accentuated waists. Large buckles, rivets and tassels all made their way into several of the pieces. Sheer gloves, leather leg wraps and face tassels gave an extra pinch of erotica.


Made for bedroom-wear while simultaneously out of the content of sexual activity, objects of fetishized attention marched on down. Bustle skirts drew attention to hips that were shaped to seduction. Buckle bras acted as body armor. While leather could be overpowering, Bayne made sure to keep sophistication in play by placing her adornments over silky little underthings. High lace-up boots amplified the designs.


A semi-transparent texture matched with a leather harness produced a confused notion where something as simple as a shirt becomes a sexual object of desire. The harness, however, was manipulated into outwear – appearing more like jackets or jewelry than looking so blatantly ironic. It is through this mix of messages that the collection has transcended the obvious of being just simply fetish wear to now being exhibited as accessories of fashion.


The sadist and masochist-inflicted mindset couldn’t even be compared to the extreme discipline in design. The high point was the closer as a Zana Bayne bride marched down the catwalk. Wearing a dress made out of white leather, purity was captured in racy form.


The selection of actual clothing is much more sophisticated than prior collections. It is through this new type of fluidity that Bayne projected that has made this possible. The erogenous zones have been moved away from the strictness of leather and into something more sensual, and the possibilities that emerge are bountiful.

Chokers that were reminiscent of shackles for the neck, and belted details on the apparel added to the bondage aura. Bayne had the dominant hand in creating the designs, and the audience submits willingly. Collars, which denote to commitment and status, can symbolize a wedding band. Unity and surrender took form in gleaming metal that tied the looks together, full circle.


Zana Bayne took dominance, submission and the inner conflict and surrender connected with constant themes throughout culture and civilization and glorified it with beauty. Made for a woman who is an individualist, the restricted styles infuse meaning into the suffering that mankind cannot escape, and allow the wearer to surrender to the design. Zana Bayne: injecting vitality and empowerment into women. Blending fantasy with reality in leather form. JENNIFER STEVENS