NY FASHION WEEK: RAD HOURANI

More NYFW coverage re-posted from our Oakazine blog:

Rad by Rad Hourani A/W 2011-12 played out as a direct sequel to last winter’s game-changer of a collection. Almost a year ago to the day, Hourani’s gender-agnostic warriors did battle tightly swaddled in angular, zipper-laden leather, knit, patent leather, sequin and neoprene garments in blacks and midnight navys. The empire struck back for 2011-12, but this time in shades of woolen dark charcoal, frost grey and silken silver. Many times fashion shows and presentations can turn into one big clever game of “guess the reference,” but not once is that game relevant, or even playable, in Rad’s realm. Hourani is rare in that his creations are not fancily mosaicked mishmashes of trends (or micro-trends) past. His ideas come from an unpartitioned parallel universe — a universe refreshingly devoid of those pesky little categories that only serve to keep us caged up and conveniently name-tagged. Sexless, timeless and boundless, Rad Hourani’s brazen worldview shoves “him” and “her”, “mine” and “yours” and even “I” into the blast furnace of “us”, “we” and “ours.” Miraculously, true individuality is never sacrificed in the process. — Text by Marlo Kronberg. Photos by David Espinoza. More photos and reflections after the jump.

For A/W 2011-12, the models, as always, were Rad’s tribe of hollow-cheeked, ashen androgynes hell-bent on the domination of some other world. Despite the marked similarities in presentation, continual from season to season, this collection was a turning point for Rad in many respects. Samurai flourishes were found in topknot-allusive slick backs, as well as vests and tunics cinched in at the waist with grey sashes. The insectoid liquid black beetle armor of last winter metamorphosed into flat cicada-like shapes strapped onto the front (or is that the back?) of jackets. Fluid draping played a key role in comprising Hourani’s always surprising
shapes. But what really stood out about this collection was that…wait…was that a boy in a dress? And, could it be…that nobody was wearing pants for a majority of the show? Rad’s PVC leggings were nowhere to be found this season as both girls and boys donned shapes that emulated draping kilts, silky shorts, long coats and even dresses over semi-opaque grey tights.One boy in particular wore just a figure-hugging (veering on bodycon) is-that-a-dress-or-is-that-a-jacket over his tights. Whether or not the garment’s intended use value was that of “dress” originally, the very grey area surrounding its presentation left us with a delicious cliffhanger: Will Rad continue to desex traditionally sexed garments? Will he continue to explore the subtlety of the masculine dress? Will man dresses take off like his unisex stack-heeled shoes? Tune in September to find out.

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