Yesterday, on the eve of the opening of a retrospective of 15 years of his work, we spoke to him about everything from the recession to his grandmother.
My grandmother was amazing. He tells ELLE, Ive learned a lot from her. She was very poetic, very creative. I wouldnt say I have a muse, not one person, but she has had a big influence on me.
Hussein's grandma seems an unlikely source of inspiration for dresses that emit laser beams or the pieces in his latest collection for spring/summer 09, entitled Inertia, that are moulded from rubber to look as if they are being whizzed through space.
I like to take something that exists and put a new perspective on it, he explains. I want to give something that is already there a new voice, which explains how he uses fashion design to comment on history, anthropology, technology, science and philosophy.
You can appreciate [the collections] on one level, but if you know the history behind them you can understand something else too. Like spring/summer 04s Temporal Meditations collection, where he used a seemingly jovial Hawaiian print to illustrate cultural conflict in his native Cyprus.
Chalayan's way of working has won him (pictured here with Erin O'Connor and Saffron Aldrige at last night's preview) much praise and success since he started his own label in 1994. He has twice been awarded British Designer of the Year and has just been appointed Creative Director of Puma, who are also sponsoring the retrospective at London's Design Museum.
He was the natural choice for Puma. He has an inspiring, conc More