Whether it's Cookie Lyon-inspired get-ups or Andre's sharp suits, Empire gives us many fashion moments to obsess over week after week. But the show wasn't delivering its signature style in the real world with, say, an Empire-inspired clothing line. To remedy that, Hood By Air has created the first official line of Empire merchandise, which, Vogue reveals, has launched today on the brand's website.
The series has been on Hood by Air's radar for a while now: Designer Shayne Oliver first referenced Empire at his fall '15 ready-to-wear show back in February, in the form of voice-overs by Taraji P. Henson (a.k.a. Cookie) in the pre-show soundtrack. In a case of art-imitates-life, some characters started sporting Hood By Air on Empire's second season.
For spring '16, Oliver gave a nod to Cookie on the runway, in the form of tufted pillow-shaped backpacks. (Plus, Lee Daniels, Empire's co-creator, and Bryshere Y. Gray, who plays Hakeem Lyon, were in attendance at Oliver's show.) Backstage, Oliver teased a possible HBA/Empire collaboration to Mashable (which Daniels later confirmed). Finally, this back-and-forth has materialized, and the results look good.
The collection is a marriage of the Empire universe and the styles and silhouettes Oliver recalls from his own upbringing, he told Vogue. So the likeness of characters like Cookie, Hakeem, and Jamal, along with popular phrases ("I want what's mine" being a notable one) are translated onto staple Hood By Air silhouettes — sweatshirts, T-shirts, and shorts, plus bodysuits and mesh dresses. In true HBA form, there are a few objects that are more novelty than actually meant to be worn — a branded Champagne glass, for instance. (This was designed by the man who brought us Bic lighter earrings, after all.)