Fashion got crazy
Among the more polarizing sights in Manhattan this spring were the Madison Avenue windows of Barneys New York, an unlikely showcase for a series of mannequins. They were ringers for the real-life models who stalked the Hood by Air men’s runway in January, right down to their elaborate tattoos and the uncanny grillwork distorting their grins. During a recent week, passers-by stood welded to the spot, challenged to make what they could of the scene, a curious hybrid of street theater and fashion porn.
Love them or loathe them, the windows, their mannequins lurching toward spectators, lips ringed in jeweled pacifiers, “skin” elaborately inked, were a come-on. They were as surely a testament to a widening fascination with body modification in its most eye-popping extremes: allover tattoos, subdermal implants, piercing, stretching, scarring, branding and the like.
Shayne Oliver, the chief creative force behind Hood by Air, has been quick to exploit that fascination. Of a piece with his musical collaborations on and off the runway, the display was a calculated provocation, in tune, as Mr. Oliver likes to say, with “the language of flamboyancy, the language of exaggeration.”