liam hodges channels jean baudrillard and joey from friends
The London menswear fave looked to Las Vegas for inspiration for spring/summer 19.
Photography Alina Negoita
In a menswear show schedule increasingly stripping itself back, Liam Hodges is still providing one of the big ticket moments. He’s a designer whose explorations of British subculture feel increasingly relevant and modern. And, as the seasons go on, he's becoming more and more accomplished, honing the raw-but-loveable vision of London youth that first caught our attention. Each show seems to bring more rigour and maturity.
Now for all that talk of London youth, this season Liam was inspired by Las Vegas. It came from reading Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch. Specifically the section in which the young protagonist spends time in the city, with a deadbeat absent dad, hanging out and causing trouble.
“When I started working on the idea for the show, I wanted to mix the book with my imagination of what Las Vegas was like,” Liam explained afterwards. Eventually he took a trip to the city -- “We spent three days there, but it was purely research, we didn’t go crazy.” So it wasn’t a Fear and Loathing-style voyage of psychedelic self-discovery, but it opened up new, disjointed, fractured and imaginative ways of thinking, which fed into Liam’s designs this season.
Channeling French philosopher Jean Baudrillard’s theories of hyperreality, he looked to the bright lights and aggressive spectacle of the city; its surfaces and architecture -- everything designed to make you spend money. He was looking to Baudrillard’s ideas about the disintegration of fiction and reality -- and from here he started to evoke the millennial / Gen Z mindset; finding a mirror between the Instagram age of self-financed branded content and Vegas’ authentic shallowness. “It was the first time I'd really looked outside the UK for my research,” Liam said, “but we had to pull it back to London, that's what a Liam Hodges show has to be. I can't just do pure Americana.”
None of this new reference material would have meant anything if it wasn't so well reflected in the clothing. So we had Liam staples like patchworks and prints, and pieces that put that distinctive sense of humour Liam has at the centre. It was kind of chilled Americana basics filtered through Liam’s aesthetic world; bowling shirts and Hawaiian prints, short shorts and cowboy boots and check pyjamas. But the crowning glory? It’s got to be the off-duty Caesar’s Palace centurion. A tribute, Liam explained, to the best episode of Friends, set in Las Vegas, and everyone’s fave out-of-work actor, Joey Tribbiani.
Photography Alina Negoita