Shayne Oliver's Gender-Bending Fantasy at Hood By Air Paris Menswear SS16

Shayne Oliver and his Hood by Air brand are at the top of their game, taking the fashion industry by storm. One of the original leading figures in the current youth culture street-style takes high-fashion movement, with it's endless repetition of dominant HBA logo's emblazoned on tees and sweatshirts, which Shayne somehow manages to make fresh season to season. I guess not a million miles apart from what Supreme has successfully managed over the past twenty years, with their red box logo. Taking into consideration the massive impact the internet and social media has had over this idea of easy access to fashion nowadays and as a result there is no longer an underground scene. It's a lot harder for Hood By Air to remain exclusive, kind of like Supreme did when James Jebbia founded the label in 1994. This season which was dubbed "Galvanize" saw Shayne Oliver inject some New York fun, excitement and care-less attitude into a Parisian city built on long-lasting Fashion Houses established throughout the past Century, in a way he almost lived out a tacky turned high fashion, fetish-driven, odd gender-bending fantasy of his. Hood By Air crossed the gender border, so far in fact that had he crossed a bridge into a locked area in Grand Theft Auto he'd sure have six police stars flashing in the top right-hand corner. He transformed something that on first sight should technically have been quite horrifying, but after you dig a little deeper and uncover his references to old Hollywood glamour, made the collection, in a weird way rather beautiful. It certainly in my opinion, had the potential to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing and well thought-out menswear shows of the season.

The clothes in this collection, well what actual clothes were present and in-tact because most of them were slashed, deserted, deconstructed and reconstructed into something completely radical. Yeah they were great, I loved them. In fact the whole collection looked fierce, notorious, sexually explicit, beautiful like I mentioned before and in a way alluring, revealing a lot of flesh. Complex UK made an insightful point, which was "While perhaps not practical - remind spectators that fashion is as much art as it is business. Something many fashion brands of today have lost due to being too commercial and having that need to sell. Classic shapes were taken apart and re-attached, left to act as a train on a pairs of shorts, maxi-skirts had super high slits running up both sides, and the craftsmanship and manipulation to fabrics that was seen on beaded shirts and pleated trousers and culottes shown Shayne Oliver some great detail orientation. Outerwear was precisely layered, and not just simply thrown over the top of something and in ways this collection felt more mature, tailoring was sharp and some pieces stripped back, but what is a Hood By Air collection without Hood By Air graphics, did you see the logo'd denim crotches? AMAZING! Some of the garments, the way the flowed and revealed erogenous and seductive parts of the body like the shoulders, nipples and midriff reminded me of the androgynous work of past Jonathan Anderson collections. The many garments some leather, that were connected through the many zips suggested S&M because who doesn't love seeing that on a runway, because I sure so and it was interesting seeing that on a menswear runway. The Hood By Air Avalanche boots featured again on the runway, but this time round there were some trainers/Baby Jane hybrids which looked awesome. A piece I was funnily enough left wanting from the Spring/Summer 2016 collection was the white roll necks with block "HBA" logo front and centre. However boring that may seem of me.

The styling in this collection I absolutely adored, from the childlike hair clips that spelt out "HBA" and "69" - cheeky they were. Words like "Doll", "Icon", "Tear", "Coy" and "Top" were also encrusted on the models' eyebrows. And the few boys who actually had faux fringes glued to their foreheads, some with pretty little bows. Not to forget the models' mouths that were permanently fixed open, imagine 90's McQueen or even Bobby Abley's monsters from a few seasons back. The pacifiers were meant as a way to physically show being vocal and how when you're being vocal, you're being very open, serving their purpose they shown someone trying to say something to you even when remaining silent. Some even had a nod to certain sex objects, plastic blow-up dolls? The purple glory-hole? Maybe that he took from the plastic nature and glamorisation of Hollywood? (or if not, then certainly it's street corners). However controversial, they were just simply beautiful to look at and appreciate. The invitations were some of the most fun and unique invitations I had ever seen, they were codeine bottles! Like the pacifiers, the invitations symbolised comfort and warned guests not to take more than the recommended dose, "It's just a comfort thing" Oliver said after mentioning how when he came back to America he'd seen all of these boys sucking on codeine bottles. It was the perfect way to set the scene for what would be a collection that divided opposing feelings of comfort and threat, the devoured garments contrasting the babyish accessories that featured throughout. It was the silhouettes that were intimidating, but when put into this context they appear admirable, appealing and not to be forgotten.

Shayne Oliver's Hood By Air SS16 Invitation:

Images courtesy of Dazed Digital and

The Wolf of High Street


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