Longchamp’s iconic Le Pliage bag gets a provocative new look, courtesy of Shayne Oliver’s boundary-pushing aesthetic.
The hype surrounding Hood By Air—the cult label co-founded by Shayne Oliver from the gritty depths of New York’s nightlife and dance scene—has been bubbling for some time in the fashion circuit, but it wasn’t until 2013 that its popularity exploded in a riveting catwalk presentation where graphic logos found their place among conceptual streetwear. Over the course of nine seasons, Oliver thrilled critics and fans alike with an experimental brew of avant-garde silhouettes and subversive fabrications that challenged the gender binary.
Just when it seemed like nothing could stop Hood By Air’s ascent to becoming one of New York’s—if not fashion’s—most anticipated showings, Oliver announced in April last year that the brand would go on an indefinite hiatus. In the months that ensued, the 30-year-old designer has kept himself busy by taking on the role of Guest Designer at Helmut Lang, while also collaborating with Diesel to produce a denim range inspired by its history. His latest endeavour? A special capsule collection with Longchamp that will propel the Parisian brand’s “democratic nature” to new frontiers.
Oliver explained that his decision to work with the Parisian stalwart was motivated by his quest to rewrite the norm. “I like to challenge myself and do things that are unconventional, I think that can be very liberating,” he said. Longchamp’s heritage, plus a perspective that’s rooted in practicality, further enticed him. “For me, living in New York, Longchamp is part of the—dare I say—streetwear [scene] because a lot of people own Longchamp bags. It has a language that feels very organic to me.” One of Oliver’s touchpoints was travel, and from there he brought Longchamp’s signature accessories on a thrilling journey across uncharted territories. A sling bag that referenced a medical arm sling, for example, emphasised Oliver’s predilection for fetishist gear. The iconic Le Pliage bag was also remade with longer handles, and marked with words such as “Hiatus” and “Realness”. A reiteration even consisted of two Le Pliage bags fused together, as if the result of a freakish experiment. “I was trying to make the Le Pliage consistent with this idea of a new world,” he offered. Ultimately, it is Oliver’s re-telling of a tale of two cities that gives the collection its compelling backbone. “New York is my home and it will always be what I am inspired by,” he said. “But Paris is fashion.”
Clockwise from left: Bag handles were applied to bomber jackets. The Le Pliage bag was also attached to a garment bag. Shayne Oliver and Sophie Delafontaine studying the products. Pink also dominated the collection