Archive for June 10, 2011

Hussein Chalayan, Fashion Magician

'Hussein Chalayan' by Hussein Chalayan (Image courtesy of

It’s not often in the fast paced fashion world, and the normal world alike, that past fashion collections are spoke about and admired after the latest designs have strutted down the catwalk. But, Hussein Chalayan has changed the rules. In his new self-titled book out next week, the designer muses over his past collections. TellusFashion looks back at our favourite collections.

The year of 2007 saw Chalayan produce two collections, A/W ‘Airborne’ and S/S One ‘Hundred and Eleven’ that got the world talking, applauding and seeing the line between art and fashion blur considerably.

‘Airborne’ saw models sashay down what represented an airports landing strip, lit up only by a single row of spotlights above. Headwear was favoured throughout. Mesh expandable helmet hood ensembles that would have been right at home in an astronauts wardrobe and simplistic flying hats complete with a flowing train, sat neatly on other-worldly looking models heads. Two of the models even sported plastic dome hats that were lit a ghouly red, much like the batons used to wave in a plane.

A cream Star Wars inspired romper suit, complete with tiny wings that protruded from the hip, halted at the end of the catwalk only for the wings to robotically open up to reveal swatches of layered striped material making a skirt, morphing the playsuit into a peplum mini dress.

The show opened and closed with what would have normally been considered as a mini shift dress. That would be true if it wasn’t for the fact that it was made up of tiny individual LED lights, shimmering different muted colours.

Chalayan’s Spring/Summer collection ‘One Hundred and Eleven’ contained everything that connoted summer; loose white fabric, floppy hats and sweet dresses. Following a dress made of a beaded crochet of gold and a gorgeous flowing textures white gown, flower embellished and heavy on fabric, it was the bubble dress that stole the show. Simple in design yet deliciously futuristic, the dress was made up of various sized plastic bubbles, structured around the body and supported by a metallic material frame.

Sheer exaggerated cap sleeves were attached to a dress body made up of individual pure white plastic panels that gradually lifted and fanned out leaving the audience peeping at the models ivory underwear, only to the move back to its original structure having flipped the panels to reveal shiny silver squares – all while the matching hat shrunk. The finale consisted of one model wearing an amazing space ship shaped frosted hat that had a sheer barely-there piece of material that acted as a dress, attached to it. That was until the piece of material got sucked up into the hat to leave the model completely naked with only the hat remaining.

A magician in his own right and master of his craft, Chalayan has created collections that inspire, impress and make the audience question “how did he do that?”.