There’s a certain sense of gratification that comes with finding a new designer before the masses do. Now, that’s not to say we believe ourselves the ones that discovered Hogan McLaughlin by any means — no, that was artist Daphne Guinness, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Alive with savage beauty and no end in sight, allow us to introduce you to the otherworldly garments of Hogan McLaughlin.
A professionally trained ballet dancer, McLaughlin was actually a performing artist for the Hubbard Street 2 and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago before ever actually laying a hand on a sewing machine. After trading in his ballet slippers for Chelsea boots and moving to the city to try his hand at illustration, an endeavor which proved to be his entryway into fashion design, he was contacted by famed fashion designer and model, Daphne Guinness. Guinness had stumbled upon one of his sketches via Twitter, and the two subsequently collaborated on the costuming for a short film of hers.
Mclaughlin spoke glowingly about that first collaboration. "[We crafted] a 'flayed' red leather body suit, and a pair of steel winged platforms that the media dubbed 'knife boots' which was pretty awesome," Mclaughlin says. "The items ended up in the windows of a major New York department store, and then on exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Technology."
It’s not often that a designer’s success comes before they even release an entire collection, but that’s just what happened in McLaughlin’s case.
After launching his first collection, Kaidan, in the spring of 2012, he has since released eight collections in total, each one building off of the next. Much like the early work of renowned designer Alexander McQueen, McLaughlin’s designs evoke a brutal sense of veracity that also have a unique duality to them — for every rigid and perfectly structured garment comes an equally fluid and effortless counterpart.
“I definitely think silhouette is a constant in any collection I do," Mclaughlin says. "I like there to be consistency but sometimes there will be one or two garments that are completely out of left field and I just go with it. But I also like there to be a through-line in everything I do so it's cohesive from one season to the next.”
"Something that feels like it has a past but is also accessible to a modern wearer."
McLaughlin says that his lines' aesthetic is largely influenced by history and literature as well as other designers. “I've always been inspired by Alexander McQueen and other designers that tell a story with their clothing," Mclaughin explains. "My own personal style, however, is much more minimalistic so I draw on that too, and try to seamlessly streamline the two into one complete idea. Something that feels like it has a past but is also accessible to a modern wearer.”
His uniquely enchanting aesthetic has even garnered the attention of executives at shows like HBO’s Game of Thrones and Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, giving him the opportunity to create illustrative promotional images for the networks.
With a new collection due out sometime early next year, try not to be too surprised if you find any of your favorite high profile celebrities modeling his designs, as his clientele already includes the likes of Lady Gaga. Mark our words, this is merely the beginning for McLaughlin.