Looks from the Hood By Air Fall/Winter 2016 Collection
Shayne Olivier, otherwise known as fashion’s perennial bad boy, has managed to bring his Hood By Air line to the forefront of the industry in just ten years. He is quickly becoming a voice for an entire generation, bringing powerful and often controversial collections to the table season after season.
Although HBA’s fall/winter 2016 outing, entitled “pilgrimage,” was meant to be a reflection on Olivier’s relocation from Milan to New York City, it morphed into somewhat of a commentary on the imigration issue as a whole. Luggage tags could be found on everything from shoes to collars and make-shift bustiers crafted from plastic wrap used in airports enveloped the models. These rather obvious references to travel seemed to suggest that we cannot be tied down to one specific location- we need to move around and seek out adventure in other locales in order to truly experience freedom. But the thing with any HBA show is that Olivier’s designs never come with a definite explanation, instead he leaves it up to the viewer to reach their own conclusions.
The strength of this particular collection, however, is what separated it from those of the past. There was a new focus on outerwear, which Olivier did exceptionally well. Utilitarian-style jackets and patent leather riffs on The North Face’s famed puffer coats walked the runway cropped, slashed, and off-the-shoulder- all with zippers and straps in every which direction. Lush fox-fur, an HBA first, was also treated in this punkish manner, rendering it nonchalant.
Gender and its societal roles are themes that always make an appearance on the HBA catwalk. In fact, Olivier’s greatest achievement as a new wave designer is how he eliminates the boundary dividing male and female clothing. He is one of the rare talents who can successfully show no differentiation in how he dresses the two- everything from a bodysuit emblazoned with the word “Bitch” to a boxy, leather and fur pantsuit transcends gender in its sheer modernity. While men today might not have the courage to wear high-heeled boots like the artist, Boychild, who didn’t just walk, but ran and twirled down the runway, it’s okay because Olivier has his thumb on the pulse fashion’s linear progression, and he is just giving us sneak peek at what’s to come.