Hussein Chalayan is one of the most accomplished designers of his generation – a designer who very early on mixed high tech with fashion in pieces with an undeniable commercial success. At the beginning of the 21st century, Time magazine placed him among the 100 most influential innovators of the new century – he was the only fashion designer to make the list. His runways aren’t just known for their creativity; it’s also his genius fittings and couture that have left a number of fashion editors speechless. For their Spring/Summer 2018 runway, Chalayan’s brand is putting fits and the power of simplicity back at the heart of the action.
One major piece in this collection is a grey suit with an ultra-light black veil. Imagined as a celebration of his legendary reputation, this key piece demonstrates Chalayan’s exquisite talent – a talent that once more goes against the grain. This veil has nothing to do with Islam, in the designer’s own words. It’s rather a reference to Magritte: Hussein Chalayan is questioning identity in the digital era. Beneath this black muslin veil is the incarnation of an identity being constructed, an identity sometimes led astray by a desire to be noticed in order to exist in a digital world where FOMO is the issue of the day.
Representing social filters, the black veil oversees an exquisite draping where the couturier’s deftness liberates a sweet and extraordinarily refined silhouette. And yet nothing goes too far or seems out of place. The fabrics seem barely touched. And this is where all of Hussein Chalayan’s magic comes to life in Spring/Summer 2018. This magic is made of craftsmanship and intellectualism, at a time when vulgarity is so easily able to masquerade as avant-garde.
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