We expected dark and brooding high-fashion dramatics at the spring '09 Hood By Air show, and that's exactly what we got. Models in spiffy, hard bottoms and wall-street worthy shirts fastened right to the top were bondaged out, hands tied behind their back with lethal weapons—power drills and crowbars—dangling from their outfits like casual man trinkets. The ghost of Patrick Bateman might as well have been sitting at the end of the runway (the hair nets were a, uhm, dead giveaway), but of course the looks were all definitely signature HBA, with PVC capes and slate grey hood-ready wind breakers a clear nod to the label's mission statement.
It's a three-way vision that designer Shayne Oliver mapped out with the help of stylist/fashion editor JJ Farrer and photographer/casting director Kevin Amato—Oliver insisted on a lots of Jodeci realness to off set the American Psycho vibes, while Amato encouraged him to reference Phil Collins videos as a new twist on the aesthetic. The images featured here are snapshots Amato took backstage just moments before the show started and pictures collected while casting in the run up to the presentation.
Amato was born and raised in the Bronx and a lot of his most striking work centers around the kids he scouts on the borough's streets—one series in particular documents a group of Latino punk teens. Building a compelling cast of characters was obviously just as key for the Hood By Air show, and it's Yuri—a square-jawed, blue-eyed tough Eastern European boy that ended up being the model template for the show.