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13 Oct

Master of Fabrics – Hussein Chalayan

I was lucky I went to school in London because the tutors could see what to do. I knew I wanted to do something different. Why would I want to do what other people were already doing, because they would always do it better? I always wanted to work around the body. So throughout my college years, my work was quite free“ – says Hussein Chalayan.

His “fashion majesty” is one of the most cerebral designers of his time.

Just to highlight that Hussein Chalayan was chosen by Time magazine as one of its ‘100 Most Influential Innovators of the 21st Century’. His colleagues say that he is one of the deepest thinking fashion designers of the new millennium.

His shows are breathtaking – aqua dress as origami or crisp flower-printed shirts look like wax paper. Chalayan took inspiration from asymmetry and layers of Yamamoto and Miyake. He was influenced by experimental period of Pierre Cardin, too. What is the secret of his unconventional fashion?

Hussein Chalayan at the Design Museum, London

A creation by award winning designer and creative director of PUMA, Hussein Chalayan is displayed at the Design Museum on January 21, 2009 in London, England. The piece entitled ‘Readings’ comprises of cryistals and over 15000 flickering LED lights./Getty Images/

Futuristic and innovative design with elements of  science and art.

It’s difficult to imagine the idea behind Hussein Chalayan’s dresses as these with moving airplane parts or robot dress loaded with Swarovski crystals  and garments remind of furniture. Many times these extraordinary pieces were showcased in London’s Design Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York,  the Palais du Louvre and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo.  But let’s take a look at Cypress born designer’s early beginning. Hussein Chalayan went to London’s Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design while apprenticing with a Savile Row tailor. His graduating collection “ The Tangent Flows” was extremely curious. According to his idea series of garments were buried in friend’s garden for six weeks. This concept shows cycles of death, life and urban decay.

I think of fashion as an art form as well as an industrial product – and something that has to be sold well and has to be of high quality”.

  It’s true…the designer collaborated with “masters” from the art, architecture, show business, music, textile technologies…In 1995 Chalayan designed piece for Bjork’s album and tour. Hussein showed the zeitgeist of the early 2000s with his technology inspired collections, mathematical pattern-cutting techniques and topics as climate change and global warming.

In his Fall 2007 collection, he designed a dress with 15 000 LED lights and Swarowski crystals. Interesting innovative piece was seen in collection with breastplate that showed robotic influence versus textures of rock or earth.

“I really do think that I am an ideas person.”

“People often don’t realize that whatever an idea is, ideas are always something valuable. There is something to be respected in every given idea, no matter where it comes from”. In Chalayan’s Spring 2010 collection, he featured evening dresses with porcelain hands as clasps as an ode to the original aficionado of unconventionality Elsa Schiaparelli.

Hussein Chalayan Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2014-201

Models walk the runway during the Chalayan show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2014-2015 at Les Beaux Arts on February 28, 2014 in Paris, France. /Getty Images/

According to Chalayan the future of design is in gender – free clothes.

He is sure that femininity is also for men and masculinity for women. “ Now I teach in Berlin, and see how for the next generation of designers this is simply second nature. We share pronouns and think beyond binaries. I can imagine doing a single genderless collection, and that’s so exciting”.