A Fashion Show Inspired By "Inappropriate" Dress Codes

Photo: MCV Photo.
Photo: MCV Photo.
Shayne Oliver’s Hood By Air has always been about more than just the clothes since its 2006 runway debut. His shows are brash performance-art pieces that consistently challenge gender conventions. This season, school uniforms — namely, perversions of uniform dressing that would guarantee detention — provided the theme.

The results: "inappropriate" interpretations of school dress codes, replete with naughty riffs on Catholic-schoolgirl pleated skirts and deconstructed dress shirts that were cropped to expose a couple inches of belly yet were demurely buttoned all the way up, plus baggy, spliced denim (you know, for just completely disobeying dress code). A few looks resembled wrestling uniforms, with white bands emblazoned with "HBA" restraining the models’ arms, and the opening number was completely backless. After walking (stomping, really) down the winding catwalk, models stood, sat, or sprawled on the laps of one another at the runway’s end, composing the coolest detention-room tableau imaginable.

The collection was full of gender-bending looks, as we’ve come to expect from Oliver. He downplays the androgyny factor these days: “At this point, I've sort of dealt with gender issues within my perspective and I just feel like it's part of the DNA of the family of the brand,” Oliver told the Associated Press. But the way Oliver’s designs explicitly defy gendered tropes is impossible to miss, and is always one of the most compelling aspects of his work.
Photo: MCV Photo.
Photo: MCV Photo.
Pleated skirts; flowy, high-slit dresses; lace-up platform sandals; and clutches or backpacks resembling the chintzy tufted throw pillows normally spotted at your grandma’s home were shown on both male and female models. (Those cushion-y accessories are actually inspired by the pillow Empire’s Cookie tried to smother Lucious, her ex-husband/on-and-off lover, with in Season One). With the collection’s shades of pink and surprisingly frilly touches, there were more feminine vibes than in any previous HBA collections at face value.

There was a message behind the makeup, too: Models’ faces were streaked with varying shades of foundation and powder, using contouring techniques but intentionally skipping that crucial last step of blending. It felt like a cheeky bit of commentary on pop culture’s obsession with Kardashian-level preening and plastic-y perfection, as well as on fitting in versus standing out. Even the soundtrack was significant — it was the first track by Wench, a new collaboration by Oliver and producer Arca, which mixes everything from t.A.T.u. to Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, along with Oliver rapping. Wench’s debut album is expected to roll out next year.

Oliver’s naughty-schoolkid models were chosen this season by Walter Pearce, who handled street casting, and Evelien Joos, who handled agency casting, with an eye for the unconventionally beautiful. (The non-professionals seemed to walk with the most swagger.) Even without a vogueing finale, models on crutches, or a Great Dane on the runway, you can count on Oliver to give the fashion crowd a hell of a lot of mull over.
Advertisement

More from Fashion

Some trends are easy to dive into head-first: Give us all the athleisure in the world, and we're definitely not complaining. Because no matter how many ...
Carlton Banks, your moment as a fashion icon has come. On Wednesday, Miuccia Prada showed a collection that, at first glance, might not immediately remind ...
Sometimes it can feel like life is just a constant rotation between large plastic bins of clothing — as soon as you're finally getting settled into your ...
Laura Delarato and plus-size TRX trainer and pole dancer Roz Mays try on workout tops and talk about what makes a good plus-size workout top
We first heard about Nike's plans to really, truly make the self-lacing sneakers from Back to the Future Part II a reality back in March, after the ...
This story was originally published on October 8, 2015. You can expect to see a certain set of characters at every Halloween party. Cher Horowitz is in ...
The cast of Stranger Things is continuing its world tour of stealing your heart. First, Millie Bobby Brown took over the front row of New York Fashion ...
(Paid Content) We don't just appreciate an inspired ensemble. We want to know the whole making-of story behind it. But in Style Roots, we're going one ...
Kendall Jenner recently admitted that she's always either braless or in a bralette, and she's not the only one. Tons of women (regardless of chest size) ...
With close to 4 million followers on Instagram, Aimee Song (a.k.a. Song of Style) knows how to take a pretty decent photo. The Los Angeles-based interior ...
Sometimes, looking a certain height is all about perspective
For the past few months, we’ve been hearing the term “see now, buy now” ad nauseam. It's all about offering customers instant gratification — the ability ...
You can switch out your clothes all you want, but you can’t really replicate the way glasses can completely transform you. It’s like presenting an ...
Last year, the lingerie line Frederick's of Hollywood closed all its stores after going bankrupt. But now, it's making a resurgence with a little help ...