TOGA‘s Fall 2014 collection entitled “Crudity, Durability, Roughness” explores the American West in a very peculiar way. There’s a lot of buzz around Americana style lately, but fortunately there are also plenty of creative resources to be found in designers’ collections. Especially when we’re talking about Japan versus America (via Europe) the result might be even more interesting.
Japanese designer Yasuko Furata graduated from Esmod in Paris before going on to work as a freelance costume maker. She launched her label Toga back in 1997. In 2004, TOGA opened its first boutique in the Ebisu district of Tokyo. Today, TOGA has over 30 shops all around the world. Distinguished by its exclusive fabrics research and experimental volumes, the Toga silhouette is urban, deconstructed and avant-garde. Defining her design as “Toughness and unique sexiness, hidden in elegance that uses complex female images to evoke all the senses” Yasuko likes contradictions “such as the combination of conflicting materials, interpretation of classic elements into casual styles, and the elegant presentation of sportswear elements.”
Indeed, these pieces are beautiful and provoking in terms of silhouettes, fabrics and associations, resulting in an efortless chic layerings of apparently contrastant elements. Addresing to a free-minded, contemporary, global woman, TOGA is a a label that certainly deserves un certain regard.
catwalk images via style.com
Denim is cool, denim is classic, denim is democratic. It is also a permissive canvas for a wide range of creative interventions. While a good pair of jeans will always be a good pair of jeans, the famous serge de Nîmes continues to be reinvented, sometimes evolving in surprising ways. Every respected designer, from Martin Margiela to Karl Lagerfeld, from Hedi Slimane to Christophe Lemaire and Isabel Marant , had dealt at one point with denim. Moreover, we noticed lately an interesting revival in denim redesign. Whether we refer to the work of established designers like Raf Simons and Phillip Lim or newer talents like Faustine Steinmetz or Xiao Li, denim variations remain a prominent trend of the moment.
Xiao Li x Diesel capsule collection
Raf Simons x Sterling Ruby
What is Hood by Air?
Hood By Air is a New York based streetwear label created by Shayne Oliver and Raul Lopez in 2006. Inspired by hip-hop culture the line features edgy garments and graphic tees printed in bold colors, usually bearing the signature HBA logo. Started as menswear with a collection based on sweatshirts and T-shirts, Hood by Air gradually evolved to more complex constructions. The outfits tend to be rather unisex.
Key words: T-shirts, sweatshirts, logo, prints, Centaur boots, bold, denim, leather, genderless, powerwear.
While the classic HBA tees play a lot with graphics and logos (such as Paramount-inspired logo), more recent collections introduce daring cutouts, bold accessories, lace-up details and sophisticated layering. After Oliver Shayne was awarded with the LVMH Young Fashion Designers special prize there was a significant shift in label’s evolution, which obviously became more luxurious.
Hood By Air items can be purchased online (check VFiles), as well as from famous boutiques like Opening Ceremony and Colette.
Why is it so relevant?
Firstly, because it is an example of American design at its best! Hood by Air delivers extremely clean and wearable clothes, re-imagining Americana style and giving it a fresh allure. The collaboration with Italian footwear brand Forfex resulted in a line of amazing boots, another great addition to the HBA overall look. Although the clothes per se are neither artsy nor emotional, they have instead an experimental component and an evident sexual charge.
Then, because it succeeds to be avant-garde being in the same time ’normal’. Actually, Hood by Air is a smart hybrid between streetwear and high-end fashion, better said an avant-garde streetstyle. In the context of boredom and indifference which dominates fashion lately (see normcore), HBA delivers something new.
Finally, HBA already means much more than clothing. Exploring notions as body, identity, gender, Hood by Air aims to grow its influence as international lifestyle brand. Indeed, working across different creative mediums, they succeeded to build an entire world around these garments. And that’s precisely what makes the difference between ’another label’ and a powerful force in contemporary culture.
A prominent event in their work it’s the recent ‘HBA trilogy’ conceived for the S/S 2015 collection. Having the exploration of the male self – id, superego, ego – as the main theme, the collection has been exposed in three parts:
Part 1 (EGO), presented at NYFW introduced some cool kids wearing signature cut out pieces and amazing plexi choker necklaces; Part 2, (SUPEREGO), which took place in an abandoned office space in Paris focused mainly on ”refashioned versions of men’s tailoring, meant for a world where the codes transmitted by a traditional suit no longer exist“(Maya Singer); Part 3 (ID), back in New York at MoMA did not present a new collection, but a party performance and multimedia installation. Bringing together costumes and elements of the previous two collections, with the participation of artists as Mykki Blanco, Boychild, Venus X, Fatima Al Qadiri, Leilah Weinraub, SSION, Total Freedom, HBA’s PopRally event at MoMa delivered an unified view on brand philosophy.
Hood By Air – SS 2015, Part 1, NYFW / images via style.com
Hood By Air, SS 2015 – Part 2, Paris Fashion Week/ photo via mtv.com
Hood By Air – SS 2015, Part 3, MoMa , New York/ photo via i-d.vice.com
Franco-Portuguese artist and architect Didier Faustino is already renowned for his intriguing projects which debate alternative relationships between body and architecture. Founder of Bureau des Mésarchitectures, Didier Faustino is the author of Doppelganger, Sky is the Limit, (G)HOST IN THE (S)HELL, We Can’t Go Home Again to name just a few projects.
His latest art project displays a personal interaction with a particular space - Villa Bloc (designed by French sculptor André Bloc in the 50s). At Villa Bloc Didier Faustino has implemented a semi-architectural installation entitled ‘This Is Not a Love Song’. I love both red explosive entrance and the light arrows-installation placed inside. And especially the way these landmarks interact with the whole environment.
Didier Faustino installation at Villa Bloc Paris/ photos: Felipe Ribon/ images via designboom.com