It appears that Balenciaga's golden boy, Alexander Wang has not gone unaffected by the appeal of Hood By Air, as indicated by a few looks from his eponymous Resort 2015 collection; the young designer may have co-opted HBA's signature color blocking. Disclaimer: We know that HBA creator Shayne Oliver didn't invent color blocking by any means, but we do have to give it to him for choosing an aesthetic and sticking with it (namely, his "signature hyper-inflated, insistently chest-thumping logo mania", as Style.com put it recently). Implicit in that "logo mania" is the placement of dual color blocks on the arms of sleeves, the thighs of shorts (over pants, always over pants), the wrist section of a long sleeve tee, etc. While the designs by Wang certainly are not so egregious that Hood By Air likely has any cause of legal action, the HBA inspiration is pretty obvious, and maybe more than anything, speaks to the proposed merit of HBA's recent flurry of design award honors. The brand received a special prize in connection with this past week's LVMH Prize and was in the running for the Swarovski Award of Menswear Design at last night's CFDA Awards. Oliver lost to Belgian-born, New York-based menswear designer Tim Coppens.
Whether you think Wang took a page from Oliver's book or not, and/or whether you fall into the very pro-HBA camp or the one that simply does not believe that graphic tees belong anywhere near high fashion (my observations suggest that there is hardly a gray area between these two groups), that is not the underlying point here. Instead, it is that we cannot deny the influence that HBA has had and continues to have in the fashion world. Whether Oliver will be able to transform his label as this current wave of street wear becomes more and more diluted by copycats (Wang wasn't the first; Opening Ceremony is also a fan of HBA) and eventually moves on to a new look, as all styles do, we will have to wait and see.