Is there a more subversive label on the New York schedule, or any city’s for that matter, than Shayne Oliver’s Hood By Air? It’s doubtful. Just think of how quickly and convincingly it got the entire industry talking about gender, for example. So, what do you do when you have the fashion establishment paying attention? You put on a show at a traditional venue, not an abandoned car park, you get them feeling comfortable that this is business as usual and then you unleash an ensemble cast as unpredictable as they are unrelenting.
A boarding pass was placed on each seat and every guest was called Pilgrim. In patent black and red thigh-high boots each model, male and female, stomped down the runway and instead of disappearing backstage changed direction and climbed back up the stands through the audience and wandered about. With airport tags stuck on them they looked like lost luggage trying to find their way home. Leather dominated, mostly glossy and at times suffocatingly tight to the body, as well as fur, the only time you’ll see luxurious big furs wrapped in that plastic cling-film you get at the airport to protect your bags. A couple of white shirtdresses offered the most literal interpretation of the word pilgrim and they were poetic touches along with the latex ruffles and the monkish shirt-hoods on some. The Russian artist Slava Mogutin paraded down the runway holding aloft his head a giant black and red quilted coat like a champion fighter but it was Hirakish, a muse for Oliver and HBA, that grabbed everyone’s attention and would not let go. He walked as on tentacles, both unbalanced and utterly in charge. He was the soul of the collection and embodied the sense of imminent danger and peril in the air. Any moment now, the whole system might collapse. You better be ready. Vive la revolution!