Seize the Clothes by Hussein Chalayan
He called it ‘Seize the Day’. His idea was to take banal, everyday minutiae and turn them into something original, or ‘monumental’, as he put it. So images of ‘rubbish on the street’ or his ‘dumped clothes’ became the subject of his vibrant prints. The idea of daily exercise was translated into neon green sport-tech, three-dimensional net. A visit to a museum conjured long column dresses printed like marble, the type of grand marble you might find on columns propping up an imposing museum. But let’s not get hung up on the references of which - this being Hussein Chalayan - there are many. Let’s not try to decipher the meaning of the film backdrop – a Greek island, he said eventually, backstage - or dwell on the concepts involving land structures. Let’s just look – as he would want us to - at the clothes. Light, fresh, optimistic clothes. Indeed, the least conceptual-looking clothes he has made for quite some time. A square-ish silhouette kicked off proceedings with a strong shoulder cut into a black, then white cape coat, topped with the occasional wide-brimmed hat with a visor peep-hole. The tailoring in white, mainly, with the occasional strip of yellow or block of blue, looked easy, pure and simple and, as a whole, the collection felt lighter and more feminine. Perhaps it was the flirty skater skirts with wrap shirts and culottes with a mesh vest that ruffled at the waist? Maybe it was the filmy transparent layers over more structured body-conscious dresses? Or the pale marble column slit to the thigh? His collaboration with the International Palladium Board, provided the precious metal that was used as ‘inserts’ on sweeping ankle-grazing dresses and a single Palladium wig – sculpted like that of a marble statue. Yet, somehow, from Chalayan, master of intelligent fashion and conceptual rigour, it has become impossible not to expect more - thanks to his rich archive, spanning nearly 20 years of stellar shows that have featured the likes of remote control airplane dresses and perambulating furniture. This season, however, we must simply make do with his beautiful, strikingly simple clothes.