Cut away cargo shorts and sexed-up suiting – with models in perspex shackles and boychild leading a dog down the runway, this was HBA's strongest show to date
Not a long t-shirt in sight. Instead, there were cut away silk cargo shorts, sexed-up suiting, and accessorised bicycle handlebars and crutches. This may have been the most pared back Hood by Air show yet, but Shayne Oliver didn't need frills: the fashion was elevated. Then again, there was a black-and-white speckled Great Dane that strutted down the runway with boychild, glittery fat Forfex boots and a series of plate-sized Lucite chokers (by James Garland) that clamped the models wrists like shackles (of course, they had really good gray french manicures). But for HBA, these are just narrative motifs within Oliver’s vision for a show. Everything he does tells a story of the formulation of identities, which is why his generation sees so much of themselves in his work.
"This was a three-part collection to introduce the brand to the world and get people into the feeling of it: the Ego, Superego and Id," Oliver said backstage, where nearby Mike the Ruler was asking models "How did it feel to be a part of this show?" Seeing Oliver's global dreams in the same room as early, young fans was striking. Oliver said the focus on suiting (most of which fell away from the body or could be zipped off and tossed away) came from his interest in the character of the businessman, and questioning the identity of a Business Person today (you could ask Been Trill's Heron Preston, who was seated front row). "What are the new industries and what does that mean for the new generation?" he asked. "It's like fetishising these things and propelling new ideas of what industry is. I don't know anything about being a businessman and playing around with a suit. I feel like I'm playing a character when I play with a blazer. It's fun and kinky to me."
A live choir accompanied the show (subtly, off to the side behind the audience) and sang a spiritual “The Storm is Passing Over”, at times harmonising the song with “Don't Play” by Travi$ Scott.
The soundtrack to Hood by Air SS15:
Last season Hood by Air mixed 80s throwbacks with hardened urban uniform and upscaled street classics with suede. See all of Shayne Oliver's ballroom culture-inspired looks here: