Ever since designer Shayne Oliver stepped into the spotlight by winning a special award the judges of the LVMH Prize added at the last minute to highlight his talents, he has been on fire. Hood By Air events started popping up all over at assorted fashion capitals. Each of them fashion happenings that brought industry insiders face to face with fashion addicts.
But something shifted on the HBA catwalk today. The OTT showmanship of past collections had been paired down. Instead of blaring raucous music, jazz was the order of the day. Figure-blurring pantyhose masks, even with the occasional sideburns or grilles featuring padlocks and piercing, also kept the focus on the clothing.
And between the more flamboyant designs that came strapped or zipped to the body, there were some takeaway pieces from this collection. Items that could have a life outside a glossy fashion magazine shoot. The outerwear, in particular, was deftly done and the wide pleated pants had real potential.
In a very short time Oliver has made a strong impression with his creations. So to see him continue to brand a large portion of his work with the label’s HBA initials this season started to smack of insecurity. Better were the pieces — say, a beige and black color block sweater and zip panel pants — that communicated the designer’s unique aesthetic without having to spell it out.