This weekend globally renowned fashion designer Hussein Chalayan will be presenting his new Autumn/Winter collection at London Fashion Week. With their extraordinary qualities, Chalayan’s shows are always one of the highlights of the week.
As fashionistas everywhere eagerly the unveiling of his latest collection at Sadler’s Wells on Saturday, we take a look back at his previous LFW outing last September.
Renowned for his artistry as much as his fashion skills, Chalayan uses storytelling to create his clothes, often constructing his narrative around cultural identities and anthropology. His Spring/Summer 2018 (SS18) collection was themed around ‘Entitlement’, inspired by the idea of ‘lost individuals in a digital world’.
In today’s smart phone, social media-dominated era, it is all too common for people to feel like they are missing out from the imminent exchange of information and thoughts of others, forcing them to remain locked into this virtual world. Individuals maintain a warped sense of self-worth, curating themselves and the world around them, and waiting on ‘likes’ or ‘comments’ from others, which in turn can prompt waves of despair and entitlement.
“We live in fast times, where we fear ‘missing out’ and yet are simultaneously entitled. It’s a strange dichotomy”, Chalayan told the Financial Times (FT).
The London-based Turkish Cypriot designer themed his SS18 collection around this neo world where it’s all about “Brand Me”. Chalayan introduced pieces with floral details and mono-colour: suits and dresses that outwardly seemed simple, but oversized and unbalanced to represent ‘despair’. ‘Entitled’ was reflected in the way he framed the body with accessories, such as sunglasses and veils/headscarves over the faces, and various cutting techniques that served to re-define the sense of self.
In the world of instant messaging, Chalayan opted for Swarovski-detailed Post-it notes on dresses representing an air of value and empowerment. The embroidered embellishments on each Post-it note leaf a personal message to another, forcing the individual to wait for an embroidered response to glean acceptance and their own self-worth.
Throughout his 20-plus career, Chalayan’s creations have refused to be bound by mainstream lifestyles rules. Instead, he revels in constantly probing and pushing against the norms, not just with fashion but on a social level too, and his September show again proved that.
Talking at the FT Weekend Festival last year, he said the fashion industry was “too curated, too fast, too corporate, too nepotistic”. It will be interesting to see which cultural and social juncture his new collection will arrive at this Saturday.
Main images: Chalayan SS18, London Fashion Week, Sept. 2017. Photos © Chris Moore / Catwalking