Feb 19, 2017
Chalayan brings Greece, glitter and a whole load of simplicity to London
Feb 19, 2017
Hussein Chalayan returned to the London catwalk on Saturday for the first time in 16 years, with relaxed but structured tailoring inspired by Greek folk culture. And there may have been an explosion of glitter but at its heart the collection continued the simplicity and minimalism he has embraced in recent years.
The Cyprus-born British designer is known for his sculptural creations, which have been worn by Bjork and featured in exhibitions and theatre productions around the world. But while in the past for some of his pieces the description 'elaborate' seem like an understatement, more recent collections have given us a more disciplined celebration of the minimalist aesthetic.
So what did that mean this time round? A show with a dramatic element, certainly. With the theatrical edge to Chalayan's work always to the fore, it seemed apt that his models took to the stage at Sadler's Wells theatre to showcase his latest collection. They walked out in white shirts with built-in waistcoats, and on-trend carrot-shaped trousers with wrap belts in wool blend knitted felts.
For the finale, they ripped off geometric print panels on the front of their dresses -- helpfully labelled "Pull To Open" -- to unleash a spurt of glittery foil streamers onto the ground.
"It was a combination of a protest and a celebration -- I wanted these very tacky things coming out, that I found very beautiful," Chalayan told reporters backstage. "That's what life is, that you can have that duality -- the protest element, but also the purity."
But that was the showy icing on the cake. For the most part the collection was about wearable pieces such a cashmere black dresses cut to look as if they were falling off the shoulders, detail-free dresses in greige, beige felt tunics over loose-cut grey pants, ultra simple grey pantsuits livened up with little more than those tie belts (a key item that has appeared on more than one runway this LFW), plus bold black and white prints and delicate tops embroidered with hand-drawn Greek figures.
The palette of navy, grey, beige, tan, black and white only served to underline the extreme simplicity of the message.
Chalayan, whose parents were Turkish Cypriots, started his career in London, where he was twice named Designer of the Year. But like many of his peers, flew the nest for the commercial opportunities of Paris.
Why the return? "We felt we were making this very big effort, but a lot of people weren't coming. When we moved to Paris our business grew considerably," he said.
Returning to London this season to join British names such as Burberry, Mulberry, Christopher Kane and J.W. Anderson, has delighted his British fans. But will he stay? "I don't know yet. Let's see."
Additional reporting by Sandra Halliday
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