Hood By Air, the popular “underground” label from designer Shayne Oliver, showed this past weekend during New York Fashion Week. And while his usual crew of celebrity fans were noticeably absent (no A$AP Rocky on the runway or Kanye in the stands. Although, a v. #rare Joe Jonas sighting was reported.), Oliver still managed to elicit quite the response from fans and the media that covered the show.
Between the “crown of hair” that each model (unconventionally beautiful(?) ones who bore a striking resemblance to those cast for Astrid Andersen's F/W show) wore down the runway, and the hyper-energetic vogue dancers that closed the show, Oliver also sent down his new cut-and-sew collection (separate from the Classics Pre-Fall collection he showed last month in Paris). In addition to the brand’s signature long sleeve T-shirts emblazoned with gigantic HBA lettering, Oliver expanded on what else the HBA customer might want. The young designer discerned that this meant an array of jeans with zippers. Much like Elsa Schiaparelli (who was one of the first designers to make unconventional use of zippers in the 1930's), but not nearly as chic, Oliver punctuated nearly every non-T-shirt garment with zippers and sent them down the runway. This use was put to great effect when they served as stripes on an oversized nylon bomber.
On the more extreme end of the spectrum, some of what Mr. Oliver showed could barely be construed as a currently identified item of clothing. Sure, there were items that covered the arms and part of the torso, like a traditional shirt or blouse might, but the shape, fastening system, and other not-quite-superfluous details made sure there was always a question mark at the end. Like, that new Hood By Air jacket(??) sure does look interesting; or, I’m not sure how practical Hood By Air’s clothing(???) is.
Which leads to a greater point: Someone really must try to replace Cathy Horyn ... soon. Among the legions of the non-famous, will no one steal her “honesty” schtick? After the show, Style.com, The Cut, and Complex all posted largely positive reviews of the collection, which, in and if itself is surprising and/or confusing and/or ridiculous. Yes, the reviews contained mostly true statements (there WAS high energy and the show DOES tackle a number of societal themes) but there’s more to it than that. Fans of music don’t read Pitchfork to hear “experts” purely gush about ALL the newest releases. Nay, they want to know what was good, what's better, and what to avoid; they want the expert to guide them through the nuance they might have otherwise missed. Now that Cathy Horyn has left, who is there to guide us through the nuance? To explain what it is about the HBA pieces that will ultimately grace the backs of hip-hop celebrities that strikes a topical chord, and also to explain why a zippered and roped faux-jacket might be kind of a mess?
We’re waiting for you, as-of-yet-unnamed-fashion-critic-superhero; but until then, keep coming back to The Fashion Law, where we have no problem telling you that this is a really bad look: