“I’m a really curious particular person,” stated Hussein Chalayan backstage. He’s proper about that, in each senses. For less than an inquiring thoughts—and a really explicit angle—might have formulated the fabulous coup de théâtre on the coronary heart of this morning’s Chalayan presentation.

Upon getting into the present area, two fashions could possibly be seen sporting white paper clothes with army detailing, standing in some form of glassless vitrine. The viewers checked them out, then blanked them out: They weren’t doing a lot, simply standing there. The present proceeded. As quickly as the primary bespoke cigar-holder pocket on the chest of an olive inexperienced military-style skirt-dress appeared, it grew to become obvious this was an extension of Chalayan’s most up-to-date Cuban-themed menswear assortment. And, certainly, there have been some seems to be from that outing sprinkled among the many plissé skirts that have been printed with abstracted pie charts from the CIA Factbook on Cuba, the lovable Plonk cartoon character Chalayan discovered within the British Library and transported to his muse nation, and the neutral-toned dancer-and-trumpeter brocade. For some cause the soundtrack was a medley of a lady moaning in suggestive ecstasy and the Knight Rider theme tune: unlikely bedfellows. The garments have been exact and sophisticated and typically very lovely. Every mannequin wore rope-tied sneakers whose heel was an on-its-side cylinder—certainly one of these heels indifferent early within the present and rolled forlornly to a halt as its wearer walked on.

Then got here the splash. These two paper-dress-wearing fashions tensed. Two hidden showerheads above them abruptly gushed forth. And—whoa!—the paper clothes actually melted away because the water doused them, revealing crystal-flashed, palm-pattern celebration attire beneath. It was wonderful to look at. The fashions, certainly one of them shivering, walked the runway and left a slick of water behind them.

Afterward, the very curious Mr. Chalayan defined the sleight of costume thusly: “That was to symbolize the transformation of a militant form of state of affairs [in Cuba] to a extra playful one. I appreciated the concept of utilizing water. As a result of, after all, Cuba, there’s a sea. So I believed how may I fuse these concepts collectively. And I preferred the concept of a garment that would soften and reveal one thing else beneath. And it was, in fact, crystal embellished as a result of our sponsor was Swarovski. So we had these dancing palm bushes, and the crystals have been their coconuts. It was an actual problem, to be trustworthy. A number of backwards and forwards. Ladies slipping, as you noticed, and heels breaking, however who cares? I like taking dangers.” Unique, curious, and clever, Chalayan is a designer to cherish.


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