Shayne Oliver’s street style, neo-goth line Hood by Air has been a cult fixation for some time now. But for anyone who attended the young designer’s show at Milk yesterday, it’s becoming clear that HBA is moving beyond the A$AP cohort and hip-hop/art nexus and into mass obsession zone.
And for good reason–Oliver’s urban gothic, near genderless wraparound skirts, darkly apocalyptic, baggie drop shorts and street ready oversized jerseys allow the wearer to walk a fine line between street and gothic, male and female. In yesterday’s presentation, which opened with a spinning neon circle and a buzz of collective anticipation (not at all hurt by the presence of Kanye West front and center), Oliver’s trademark androgyny reached new heights.
Male and female models walked down the runway with almost shockingly pronounced, massive matted hair extensions and muddy make-up: the look was not about pretty. Knee-length, cherry red ’69 jerseys were layered over skirt-like loose-fit shorts for men; some admittedly weird, tentacle-like attachments appeared on some of the oversized sweatshirts–some olive green and imparting a rather Commes de Garcon air of conceptual design. The collection was street and high fashion; and the looks for women were almost always interchangeable with those for men.
Sometimes, Oliver left you guessing at the model’s gender entirely: men wore wide, bra-like bands under open hanging oversized vests and sparkling silver clips in their swept up locks, while women walked in leg engulfing moon boots and wide fit shorts and jerseys that left their bodies unexamined and un-sexualized. The collection was theatrical, but not without wearable pieces–and not at all lacking in voice.