Under the Hood: Hood By Air Spring 2015

If you assume the crutches belonged to the model, certainly all the other oddities that took a turn down Hood By Air’s runway sprang from designer Shayne Oliver’s fertile, furtive imagination. They included safety-pin corseting; relaxed straitjackets; lithe, post-gender body shapes (transgender is so last season); complicated proto-Rick Owens hybridizing; and very prominent human cone collars, like those put on dogs. There was one of those, too, a Great Dane.

Even if you’re not the biggest fan or don’t ‘get’ Hood By Air, there’s no denying that there’s an attitude, a puzzling aloofness to the label that makes it eminently watchable. Is Oliver being mocking or deferential when his first look so clearly recalls an early costume by Gaultier for Madonna? Or those cone collars that morphed into shackles — are they a comment on race, or class, or nothing at all? Imagine seeing that accessory on the streets this spring. Reading between the lines is the fun of watching Hood By Air. No other American brand is pushing buttons like this.

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