You know– the hems have little silver chains hanging off of them, said the photographer, who had gone backstage to take some photos. Oh, that’s delicious, I said. We were milling about the halls of Milk Studios in Chelsea and we had just witnessed Rad Hourani’s Spring 2010 line. After a week full of light ruffles & floaty gowns in pastel colors and coral hues, the dark, minimalist vision that greeted us down the white-washed runway was a welcome change. Here was the stripped down, sleek aggressiveness that I equate with fashion militia—you know those kids- they club, they ride the subways, they cluster in dark little herds and host late night fetes in hotel rooms.
Anyway, it was here: forget the fashionista. There’s a dark child that has arrived and it is the fashion militia. And Rad is leading the pack. He is a young designer who has been compared to Helmut Lang and Ann Demeulmeester. He has had no formal design training, which is surprising. He worked mostly as a stylist and videographer. In past interviews, he has said he designs clothes that he would like to wear himself and credits his years as a stylist as key to his construction of clothing.
And what a collection it is: The hardware was awe-inspiring. The leggings were exceptional. Sleek & slitted like gills and then dark layers, almost origami-like.
Skinny stovepipe pants were laced up horizontally with chains, the motorcycle vests had straps and dripping silver, sheaths were stark white or stark black with dark strappy bustles attached to the back. Models were pale white, hair slicked back in severe pony tails. Cult followers love his urban androgyny. I never picked up the sense that he was playing with gender issues; it felt more like he was grappling with fashion rules. It’s supposed to be a spring show—and while I didn’t anticipate gowns—I certainly did not expect cut up leather, white jeans with dripping silver details and elastic straps. It’s sort of the raw energy of punk, mixed with an Asian refined elegance. That’s about as close to how I can describe it. Whatever it is, I hope he continues exploring his own aesthetic.
– Jeanie Kwak
Photos by Nari Kim