Showing posts with label Hussein Chalayan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hussein Chalayan. Show all posts

Monday, February 9, 2009

All Hail Hussein

Some cultural dos and don'ts for the week: Don't go and see He's Just Not That Into You, a film, like the equally depressing Bride Wars, where women are portrayed as whiny, men/wedding obsessed idiots and that makes you despise your own sex. In my defence,  I just went to see it for some light relief after all the worthy but exhausting Oscar fare I have seen lately like Doubt and Rachel Getting Married. Ok, I'm sorry  - there is simply no excuse for going to see these turkeys.

So, bypassing HJNTIY, do try and make it to the Design Museum to see the Hussein Chalayan retrospective. Don't let the hordes of fashion students taking pictures on their camera phones put you off - this is definitely worth seeing. There is nothing in my wardrobe that could ever be described as conceptual but I can appreciate clothes that have some deeper idea behind them rather than existing merely to make the wearer look pretty or sexy. Chalayan is undoubtedly the most intellectual figure in British fashion. His interests range across so many disciplines  - science, technology, architecture - not the sort of themes that translate easily into wearable, pretty frocks. He is more of a performance artist than fashion designer so his work fits perfectly into a museum environment. 

With his genius, a chair becomes a dress, a coffee table transforms into a skirt. That seminal Afterwords collection (A/W 2000) is showcased here, along with paper clothes that can be sent through the post. Very convenient. My favourite Chalayan show is also displayed - the magical One Hundred and Eleven (S/S 2007) where the outfits morph through the decades and become the defining looks of each era - a Victorian gown turns into a 1920s flapper dress before your eyes, another dress is New Look Dior one minute and a 60s metallic shift the next. All this mechanical wizadry is combined with a series of really beautiful organza dresses - no special effects necessary here. Wooden skirts may never catch on but with this collection, Chalayan showed he was not just fashion's mad scientist  - he can do beauty as well as brains.