In spite of the snowiest days London has witnessed in last eighteen years, The design museum has been crowded with people with slightly red faces. Not only because of the cold weather. They all are so excited to see the world of Hussein Chalayan, who crosses many different disciplines of fashion.
Stepping into the exhibition room, encased in glass you will see the dress which made him a star, “The Tangent Flows”, a brownish red silk dress with tight silhouette. You may have heard so many times already that the silk dress had been buried in the ground for months and then exhumed. Still it was a sensational innovation. With this work, he graduated Central St. Martins college to start his own label in following year 1994.
Now we see three mannequins standing with their hair blown in the wind. This collection named “Inertia” was inspired by the idea of speed, the essence of every area of life. They all wear mini dresses carrying images of car components. The back of the dress looks like it is pulled further back as if the effect of an aggressive car crash from the front. The sharp projection and broken windscreens used as decoration around the neck make us feel a little bit uncomfortable. It seems like the faster the consumers and communications get, the less we care what exactly we get. It might be Chalayan”s way of warning for it.
Crossing between traditional Turkish costume and modern western cloth, is the “Ambimorphous” collection. The Comparison of rich embroidery, beads, mirrors, gold with simple black long coat explains different values of inter cultural communications. The black fabric gradually dominates the saturated red dress, also telling of the strong influence of western culture.
In another room with a girl on a swing, wearing holiday night out type of dress with espresso cup in her hand. The dress has countless delicate cut but made with one piece of fabrics. The pattern of the dress and even the wallpaper of the room are made with the same prints along with an ocean view and palm trees in the background. At closer inspection you will notice there are some roman armies hunting, at the same time air plains are flyng by, and resort hotels are being built on the coast. Past and present are united together, ultimately becoming a frozen fragment of its own archaeological quest.
“One hundread and eleven” explored how fashion has been shaped by during time. A series of mechanical dresses, which as parts moved itself, still take our breath away. A single look shows from one era’s style to another. Seeing this magic like beauty, there is applause inside and outside of the video.
Hussein Chalayan: From Fashion and Back
Date: January 22nd – May 17th 2009
Place: The design museum
Address: 28 Shad Thames London, SE1 2YD
Text and photos: Sayaka Hirakawa, Simon Borkin