It has always been said that for a designer to truly prove his worth in the fashion world, he must come to Paris. Designer Shayne Oliver, of the brand Hood by Air, has taken up this challenge with gusto. The radical Mad Max war boy urban rebels that walked in his Spring/Summer 2016 menswear show challenged fashion's status quo, gave a new perspective to the whole gender fluidity movement of the season, and displayed a refreshing fearlessness that has been missing in his generation of designers.
"I just wanted to feel very open," said Oliver about the collection. "Showing in Paris is kind of like a relief. In New York, I always feel like I have to represent. Here, it feels more like a celebration. Where I can play and try things I don't usually do. It's like my baby."
The designer turned the charms of childhood on their head in his show. Transforming pacifiers into padlocks or pin cushion, inserting cheek retractors used by dentists to fit braces into the model's mouths and adding girly bow hair clips to their tresses. Not to mention the words "sick," "coy," and "bashful" spelled out in glued-on sequins above a single brow.
Oliver himself is like the Godchild of Jean Paul Gaultier, Rick Owens, and Alexander McQueen. Just like them, his work is a potent mix of envelope-pushing creations that dare you to take them on.
And who will don a pair of purple pleated palazzo pants, a harness-like body suit, or a pair of sectional black leather pants held together by straps? Not many. But, on the other hand, some crackle red paint effect pants, a white button up shirt thickly embellished with beadwork sleeves, and a relatively classic chalk colored knee-length coat all pointed to the child inside Oliver starting to grow up.
But for now let him bask in his youth and sow his wild oats. There is plenty of time in the future for his âge de sagesse.