Shayne Oliver might have put his streetwear label, Hood by Air, on hiatus, but the maven hasn’t stopped working. From a successful guest stint as the creative director of Helmut Lang Spring/Summer’ 18 to his recent collaboration with Diesel, his latest collection with Longchamp sees the New York-based designer meld the maison’s history of craftsmanship and French elegance with his subversive and innovative aesthetic.
Drawing inspiration from the disruptive spirit of modern travel, the collection sees Oliver reworking the proportion and silhouette of the iconic LE PLIAGE®, as well as the addition of bold graphics. From stitching two LE PLIAGE® bags together, lending it extra versatility in terms of items you can store and ways you can carry, to reworking the classic bomber jacket by moulding the sleeves into the shape of the LE PLIAGE®.
We spoke to Oliver as he waxed lyrical about the inception of this collaboration, what he has learned, and the inspiration behind some of his favourite pieces from the collection.
ESQ: As a designer, how did this collaboration with Longchamp enrich your personal point of view?
Shayne Oliver: I like to challenge myself and do things that are unconventional, I think that can be very liberating. I liked how this project had a strong sense of heritage and a different perspective that was based on people’s everyday lives. I was inspired by this. For me, living in New York, Longchamp is part of the, dare I say, streetwear, because a lot of people own Longchamp bags. It has a language that feels very organic to me. New York is my home and it will always be what I am inspired but Paris is fashion.
ESQ: How did this collaboration with Longchamp come about?
Shayne Oliver: The first thing that interested me about the project was the garment bag and from there, and I began to think about how travel influenced me in my own collections from the past. I came to think about the travel ties that we did for my previous brand Hood By Air (HBA) and bringing that into the language of Longchamp via the graphic.
ESQ: What do the graphics symbolize?
Shayne Oliver: HIATUS means ‘a gap’ or ‘a break’. The HIATUS logo relates to the period when we began working on this collaboration, at the time it was very important that I took a break. It was specifically the right time for this collaboration to happen so I feel like it was a great way of speaking about what was going on in my life—about needing to take a hiatus from the project I was working on and focusing on where I was heading, which is this new project ‘by Shayne Oliver’—a series of collaborations with brands that have great heritage and renowned craftsmanship and putting my own spin on it. These bags are meant for the realness of life, it is less about having it be logos.
ESQ: This capsule collection brings some interesting styles, what inspired them?
Shayne Oliver: The collection is made to be used in multiple different ways, it is multipurpose. This multi-functionality is how I like to live my life in general and so I tried to make that as much a part of this as possible.
For one, a lot of things that were happening to me at the time that involved healing, including physically being injured. We used the idea of an arm sling, like a sling you use when you are healing yourself, and turned it into a bag but it can still be used both ways.
DOUBLE LE PLIAGE®
This came from the idea of having a bag that was more personal and having one bag that was more business. You know which side you are using the graphic on the front. The HIATUS side is meant for having fun and the other is more business. I was trying to make the Le Pliage® consistent with this idea of the new world.
We introduced a T-shirt style for the collaboration that speaks to the usage of the Longchamp graphic. I felt like it was important for that to be printed on a T-shirt as part of this new aesthetic for the collaboration. We then added the handles from the iconic Le Pliage® so it is branded in a way that mixes the new idea of branding and the old idea of branding.