by Alexandra Hildreth

CHRISHABANA has had a whirlwind year, having created custom pieces for VIP clients like Monet Xchange, Cardi B, Xtina and Doja Cat. Since the pandemic began, designer Chris Habana started experimenting with different mediums to grow his brand past the incredibly subversive jewelry and body molds he's already known for. During New York Fashion Week alone, Habana joined forces with Theophilio, Christian Cowan, LaQuan Smith and Puma to debut surprise pieces on this season’s runways.

For Habana, a major change in 2022 has been his ability to be more out and about since lockdowns lifted. "I even went out one night this week, which is something that I never do anymore," he told PAPER during NYFW. "I've seen past collaborators and friends out, and it's been nice to catch up." Indeed, the designer has been back in the swing of things, running from one project to another. "I feel like we keep pushing on with these and everyone has taught me so much."

CHRISHABANA x Christian Cowan

Habana’s Spring 2023 season kicked off with designing a series of Swarovski-crystallized chrome breast and butt plates, as well as draped chrome "fabrics" for LaQuan Smith. Meanwhile at Christian Cowan, Habana handcrafted alien-inspired concave eye caps. And for Puma, the designer created two full looks for June Ambrose's creative director debut.


When asked which of these collaborations was his favorite, Habana had a difficult time deciding but offered, "I am just coming off the Theophilio show since we worked with them on the feather headpieces and jewelry for the show. I gotta say my current favorite is the red, pink and orange feather headpiece we made for [designer] Edvin [Thompson] and team. The way model Nyagua Ruea danced in it backstage after the show really made the piece, and the room, come to life."


For every collaboration, Habana works closely with the brands' teams to ensure the briefs are, not only fulfilled, but exceed expectations. Once he conceptualizes the framework for the design, Habana always add in his signature futuristic-punk feel — something he's championed since designing with found items in his early twenties in San Francisco. This vibe is very apparent in his pieces for LaQuan Smith, with designs that look almost like ancient armor without losing a modern edge.

CHRISHABANA x Theophilio

Now that NYFW has wrapped, Habana is excited for his brand's evolution, and plans to keep metal as the basis for his pieces. "I have learned to really carve out what my label is at this moment, and have made a conscious decision to do whatever I want and explore any mediums that me and my team may want to explore," he said. As for the immediate future, "I have been really inspired with piercings and the silicone medium a lot lately, and want to explore that further in our own work. We have actually been supported by Diageo and are slated to have our very own Spring 2023 show, so stay tuned."

Photos courtesy of CHRISHABANA