the hood by air and 'empire' collaboration has landed

Live like a Lyon with HBA’s new 'Empire' super sheer dresses, silk bathrobes and champagne glasses.

by Emily Manning
11 November 2015, 7:00pm

Fashion people love Empire. Well, everyone loves Empire, but Lee Daniels' hip-hop hotbed inspires genuine industry glee. After making the internet's favorite cameo, Naomi Campbell signed on to return for the show's sophomore season. Lynn Yaeger writes a weekly style recap for Vogue, and I derive no greater enjoyment that picturing her scribbling notes about Cookie Lyon's boss-ass bustiers. And now, Hood by Air's Shayne Oliver has created the show's first official merchandise, available today.

Back in February, Oliver soundtracked his fall/winter 15 HBA show to snippets of the mogul matriarch's most stinging sound bites. It was a remarkably fitting voiceover, and not merely because the season's lush furs and zipper-laden suit jackets would fit neatly into Empire Entertainment's particular breed of power dressing. But as Oliver told i-D at showtime, the designs were steeped in the binary-bending "politics of fear" that Taraji P. Henson's character embodies. Empire also served as more direct inspiration for HBA's spring/summer 16 show (those backpacks!) when Oliver first confirmed a collab was in the works.

"Cookie's a boss, doesn't take shit, doesn't comply with any sort of male rules," the designer told Vogue yesterday upon the capsule's reveal. "Cookie's the first thing out here in a while that feels punk."

The capsule's graphic-driven sweatshirts and Ts feature cybernetic illustrations of A&R head Becky Williams and hip-hop heir Jamal Lyon (played by Gabourey Sidibe and Jussie Smollet respectively). There are silk bathrobes and sheer dresses emblazoned with Lyon's victorious catch phrase, "I want what's mine." There's even a pillow handbag, a sinister nod to her weapon of choice.

But the 37-piece capsule's standout element is the news print splashed across shorts, bodysuits, and cropped tanks. The spread sees familiar HBA logos alongside remixed versions of iconic newsprint fonts, naturally including the New York Post's bold branding. If it reminds you of fashion newspaper moments past -- like the Galliano gazette Carrie Bradshaw so famously sported in another stylish television show -- that's purposeful: "A lot of it is also references to things I grew up with, that are very specific to Queens," Oliver told Vogue. "All the boys in the oversized Hot 97 Summer Jam tees, all the West Indian girls in the printed Gallianos and Moschinos."

Since HBA's ready-to-wear expansion, its New York native designer has used the runway to challenge and subvert codes of gender, race, power, glamor and luxury. There is no better brand to collaborate with a television show toying with similar ideas in sonic style. Snag one of the co-branded champagne glasses and pop yourself a bottle. 

Check out the full collection here


Text Emily Manning
All images via Hood by Air

Hood By Air
Shane Oliver