He Whips His Hair: HBA Fall 2014

It’s not easy describing HBA, the Brooklyn-based label that defies labeling, categorically. Its family tree doesn’t go back far enough to say with certainty what provenance it springs from or what persuasion it belongs to. While it shows signs of Rick Owens in its camp brutalism, it also hints at Givenchy’s tribal elegance. It is neither street, nor hip hop, nor drag, nor pop, nor urban; rather, it is all of those things at once. If you’ve ever watched a Zebra Katz video, that’s getting near the HBA persona — aggressive, beautiful, bitchy, untouchable, and totally self-realized.

As perhaps some thought it would be, HBA’s fall show today wasn’t mind-blowingly revolutionary, product-wise, although a majority of items will be coveted and appear in many a music video, and zealously snapped up from the label’s new e-shop. Boxy cream shearling coats and leather pants with butt flaps were a large chunk of the looks — all emblazoned with the now-familiar HBA logo and paired with extra-chunky shoes and boots. Just last month, HBA edged closer to fashion’s soul by showing during men’s week in Paris, indicating this is no fly-by-night operation. 

HBA’s founder and designer Shayne Oliver has an endearing obsession with hair and wigs, which was on full display here. After all the fashionz had made their exits, a troupe of shirtless, lithe, darker-skinned young thangs strode out and, in line formation, vogued their hearts out, thrashing their blonde bob wigs and locking, popping, and flailing their limbs all about. It’s been nearly 25 years since Paris Is Burning lifted the veil on ballroom culture, but this performance proved it’s as alive and fierce as ever.

Here’s the vogueing finale…

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