In a mirage of swirling dust and neon lights, the Liam Hodges man of SS19 appeared glowing down last season’s runway with the burn lines of a lost Brit in the desert: down on his luck and desperate for slot-machine salvation in the Glitter Gulch.
His latest campaign, shot by Holly Rae Jones and styled by long-time collaborator Harry Lambert, provides an extension of that surreal exploration Hodges termed, “the hyper real”. Here, three images backdropped by the rolling hills of the Nevada desert (shot by Hodges himself on a research trip to Nevada) resemble B-movie posters and abandoned billboards, the sort you might find creaking in the wind somewhere along Route 66.
Inspired by Donna Tartt’s 2013 novel, The Goldfinch, in which main protagonist Theo sedates his inner turmoil with the intoxicating debauchery of Las Vegas, the campaign presents a timeless dimension as a parallel to our own contrived attempts to escape life’s doldrums. Just as Tarrt portrays the city as a vacuous artifice, a place of trash and daydreams, projections and hollow façades, Hodges too forewarns against the brightly coloured allure of opulence, immediacy and “extra-everything”.
“Everyone I know is worried about the future, no one wants to be ordinary. We’re always competing against this hyperreal version of ourselves” said Hodges last via the release. Vegas for him, “is a dystopia that’s real but as made up as the rest”.