New York Fashion Week spring 2014: Hood by Air review

<i>This post has been corrected. See below for details.</i>

NEW YORK -- Hood by Air showed its spring 2014 futuristic-tinged street wear collection at Milk Studios on Sunday.

Inspiration: Creative director Shayne Oliver didn’t offer any explicit inspiration for this season’s collection, titled “Gump,” though elsewhere we’ve seen him describe it as “a redefinition of Americana’s idiot savant.”

The look: Grounded in a palette of black and white with a smattering of red and pale blue, the collection was full of zipper-convertible pieces like jackets and shirtdresses that riffed on athletic jerseys, with various versions of the HBA logo on prominent display.

Shirts and light outerwear pieces dangled straps and buckles like an unstraightened straitjackets and layered under hoodies, many of the looks paired with chunky Nike footwear that looked like snowboarding boots.


Other pieces, in the finest tradition of anti-establishment street-wear brands everywhere, appropriated other logos, like the shirts with images that bore more than a passing resemblance to the Paramount Pictures logo (a clever reference -- that studio distributed “Forrest Gump”).

The most intriguing pieces were the looks that included padded tubular shapes laced onto, but distinctly apart from, the garments, down the outside legs on a pair of pants, along the arms and twisted across the torso in front or across the shoulder blades, and down the spine in the back.

The effect was that of a futuristic mechanical, organic exoskeleton that evoked the work of H.R. Giger on the “Alien” movie franchise and made the pieces hands down the most original garments we’d seen all week.

The scene: Smoke machines fogged the runway and laser lights circled the top of the runway before the show, and Fashion Week’s Energizer Bunny, Kanye West, sat front row.


The verdict: To me, smoke machines and and laser lights on the runway come across as a kind of diversionary tactic -- a clue that a designer is unwilling or unable to let his or her collection speak for itself. But that wasn’t the case here -- and both, it should be noted, subsided before the first footfall hit the catwalk.

Hood by Air’s spring and summer 2014 collection didn’t just speak for itself; it roared. And just like the wildebeest on the African savanna, I don’t need to speak lion to know the message is a powerful one.

[For the record, 10:15 a.m. Sept. 13: An earlier version of this post misspelled Hood by Air creative director Shayne Oliver’s first name as “Shane.”]


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