Hussein Chalayan has always been concerned with the idea of a journey in his collections where locations form identies: "I am interested in identifying the details that bind a garment to a location and the dialogue between identity and place, which are ongoing themes in my work." On this occasion though, Chalayan has chosen the journey to manifest itself in a more wearable format. And so Chalayan took himself on an imaginary road trip in America, one he has never done but that's all the better for accentuating the surrealities of the trip. It started in New York with an array of city overcoats acting as cocoons. Then in Pennyslvania, austere shirting along with Amish caps juxtaposed the modern and the traditional. Twisted dresses with grey metallic ribbons wrapped along with pageantry sashes travelled down to Florida referencing hurricane waves. Along the Mexican border, multicoloured ruffles seen on traditional dress adorned jackets and also contrasted against sporty elements. Then in Utah, desert coloured jackets, sheepskin coat with matching binoculars and leather oversized hats greeted us. Finally, we ended in Hollywood where Mirage sunglasses referenced the title of the show and evening dresses with plenty of thigh high slashes sparkled.
Dazed Digital: What was the impetus for using the American road trip as the basis for the collection?
Hussein Chalayan: I'm fascinated by the idea of how clothes can represent a place. It was an imaginary one and it was what I thought it could be. A lot of my work is about movement and journeying. It was quite nice to have the clothes becoming a map.
DD: With so many elements in a collection, was it purposely not cohesive?
Hussein Chalayan: It wasn't cohesive. It was supposed to be sectioned. It was one idea in different incarnations. The trip was someone's wardrobe, starting with the tailoring and ending with eveningwear in Hollywood.
DD: The title 'Mirage' - does that refer to the surface superficiality of American culture?
Hussein Chalayan: Yeah, it was idea of the gap between fantasy and reality in American where you can see a place, and it's like being stuck in a middle of a desert and it could almost be like a mirage.
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