Closing Paris Men’s Fashion Week for the fall/winter 2016 season were Thom Browne and Hood By Air, both ApparelMagic clients. These two avant-garde labels chose very different routes for their events: Browne, an unstoppable showman, staged a spectacle in a giant event space, while Shayne Oliver showed his Hood By Air collection to an intimate group, reportedly blocking even cell phone snapshots from being taken.
If one can expect anything from a Hood By Air collection, it’s that everything will be an experiment. The time slot was positioned so close to the following Haute Couture shows that even Vogue is calling Oliver’s effort couture. The garments actually on the runway are somehow at once fit for both an underground hip-hop music video and a esoteric museum exhibit. Androgynous in the extreme, the looks were shown were voluminous streetwear staples atop stiletto-heeled boots, some in patent leather. Puffer jacket hybrids topped fishnets, a snorkel-hooded jacket had its own train, and one look paired baggy trousers with a bright yellow pleated skirt. With all these ideas, Oliver was able to flex his design muscles in Paris. For the upcoming New York Fashion week, however, he’ll have a new Hood By Air collection. One that has that same HBA cool factor with a more wearable point of view.
Thom Browne, a multiple-time CFDA winner, took a characteristically theatrical take on traditional dressing that enthralled audiences as they took to Instagram posting shots of a chandelier-dominated theatre-in-the-round. Browne’s models were grouped in sets of three, each in matching suiting and outerwear, but each in a difference stage of decay: from moth eaten and destroyed to brand new and immaculate.
With almost Magritte-esque bowler hats strapped to their faces, the models slowly orbited the room, some toting furry bags in the shape of small dogs. Amongst the pieces in the literally rags-to-riches collection, there were suits fully quilted in the shape of chevrons, furs pieced into complicated plaid patterns, and a final look that included a cape fully embroidered in pearls.