The Lyons Pride — Hood by Air Launches Empire-Themed Collection
Cookie’s sassy and unfiltered utterances, extravagant fashions, and no-nonsense attitude are enough to make any Empire viewer develop a sweet tooth. FOX’s hip-hop soap opera has broken a number of TV records, becoming the first scripted broadcast series in 23 years to increase its viewership numbers over its first five telecasts, finishing its first season with a 2-hour finale that amassed an astounding 17 million viewers, and emerging as the No. 2 costliest broadcast show for advertisers (second only to Sunday Night Football) due to its popularity among key demographic groups. And it’s not just viewers and advertisers who find themselves humming the “You’re So Beautiful” tune and doing a shimmy to the “shake it fast” ad libs — fashion designers, too, are giddy over the prospect of dressing Taraji P. Henson for the show (note the Gucci number she wore in the Season 2 premier!) or, otherwise, they’re deriving inspiration from her fierce TV alter ego. Shayne Oliver, the founder and creative director of the urban-flavored fashion label Hood by Air, says he tunes in every Wednesday to watch the Lyon family argue, reconcile, bond, laugh, cry, dream, strategize, manipulate, deceive, and make some seriously hot music . And there’s no shortage of antics — take Cookie throwing a shoe at Lucious’ head or dismissively calling Anika “Boo Boo Kitty,” Hakeem recruiting talent for a Latina version of Destiny’s Child, Andre burying and then unearthing corpses, Jamal pulling a D’Angelo and filming a music video seemingly naked, or Porsha declaring she doesn’t “do” taxes. When 20th Century Fox Television approached Oliver about designing an Empire-branded Hood by Air collection, then, he jumped at the opportunity.
The just-unveiled Hood By Air Empire collection immortalizes the show’s most loved and hated characters, pays homage to meme-worthy moments, and incorporates the theatrical overtones of the series. A newspaper print, for instance, shows up on several of the pieces — among them the Empire News Dress ($120 at HoodbyAir.com), pictured at top, a sleeveless, body-hugging, black jersey number which incorporates Cookie Lyon’s infamous mug shot along with sensational headlines like “Cookie Lyon: Snitch Edition,” “Watch the Cookie Crumble,” “Stop Snitching,” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Lest we forget, Cookie did 17 years to protect her then-husband but, when he was arrested for Bunkie’s murder at the end of Season 1, Lucious was quick to believe his ex-wife had ratted him out, leading him to record the vitriolic “Snitch Bitch” during his stint in prison.
Since the Lyon clan is no stranger to headlines — especially of the controversial variety — the tabloid newspaper print seems more than appropriate. The print appears again, in a more traditional form with a white backdrop and black ink, in such garments as the Empire News Bodysuit ($120 at HoodbyAir.com), shown third above, a 100% cotton number with long sleeves and a mock neck.
Those who live for quotable Cookie moments like, “The Streets ain’t made for everybody; that’s why they made sidewalks,” or “It’s almost morning and even vampires got manners,” will appreciate the Victory Maxi Dress ($200 at HoodbyAir.com), shown fourth above, a sleeveless, sheer, black Jamaican mesh dress with the quote “I want what’s mine” emblazoned across the chest in a white appliqué, a clear reference to Cookie’s assertion upon arriving at the Empire Records building after her release from prison in the series pilot. Another Cookie moment is referenced in the black jersey No Nookie Long Sleeve Shirt ($120 at HoodbyAir.com), pictured fifth above,which features the phrase “No nookie from Cookie” in high density orange lacquer along the front, each word slotted into a pie-shaped slice to create a shape reminiscent of a vinyl record. The phrase, of course, is a nod to when Lucious attempted to cozy up to Cookie, despite being in a relationship with Anika, and she replied, “You want Cookie’s nookie? Ditch the bitch.”
If you’d rather rep the whole family, try the Family Sleeve Tee ($120 at HoodbyAir.com), pictured sixth above, which features long sleeves with stacked, overexposed, photographic depictions of all the members in the Lyon family. Those who are Team Lucious — or who just want to see him pay for his many sins — can rock the Lucious Exposed Long Sleeve Tee ($120 at HoodbyAir.com), pictured second above, which features an overexposed photographic print of a stern-looking Lucious.
Perhaps the most clever design, however, is the Pillow Tank ($90 at HoodbyAir.com), pictured last above, a fitted camisole with a white tufted pillow printed along the front — a wink-wink to the pillow Cookie held over Lucious’ sleeping body while contemplating whether to suffocate his evil behind!
To view the entire collection, visit HoodbyAir.com/Empire, and don’t forget: Lyons roar!