Elevating the everyday and making the most banal of activities an occasion
Hussein Chalayan is finding new verve and life after retreating from tricked-out showpieces and concentrating on what he knows – but does the world? – he can do best, which are really well-made clothes. Being well-made doesn't mean it has to be devoid of conceptual interest. In fact, Chalayan found inspiration in the everyday this time round and sought to elevate those moments so that the everyday can in fact be extremely special. Chalayan urged us to 'Seize the Day' with his backdrop of filmed moments from his own personal life accompanied by flat planed jackets that hung with assurance of masterful tailoring and patch pocket shirts and A-line skirts that did the same. As shades of lime green, peach and mint started entering the fold, we were entranced by this luxurious sportswear infused with wit. This was especially demonstrated when Chalayan printed photographs of his laundry over metallic jacquard and worked it into peplum tops and evening dresses. Huge sun hats inserted with clear plastic brims created by Noel Stewart did much to add to the sense of occasion with every ensemble. The final passage was an ode to a woman who visits the exhibition. Imagining wearing Chalayan's column dresses, inserted with palladium vents and printed with a signature marble, whilst admiring a statue (Chalayan even recreated one with a palladium wig and having the model strike a statuesque pose) makes this everyday normal activity so much more satisfying and satisfaction is exactly what we got out of this accomplished show.
Dazed Digital: What made you turn to the everyday for inspiration?
Hussein Chalayan: The idea was to monumentalise the day. It was taking ordinary situations and to elevate them and to make moments more special. All the clothes were ultimately wearable.
DD: Where did that print on the metallic sheen fabric come from?
Hussein Chalayan: It was about using my own clothes as almost a dump and printing it over jacquards and it became like a couture mixed with my own repertoire and that repertoire was my own dump of laundry. I thought it worked quite well and was quite beautiful.
DD: You're continuing to work with the metal palladium. How did you use it this time round?
Hussein Chalyan: I did vents in dress – that moment was about being in a museum, so they were sort of like airing vents contrasted with marble print. The wig came from that too so that’s why the last model posed like a Grecian statue in a museum. It was about the process of one moment, you're here, and in another moment you're there.