Chalayan brings Greece, glitter explosion to London
Hussein Chalayan returned to the London catwalk on Saturday for the first time in 16 years, with relaxed but structured tailoring inspired by Greek folk culture — and an explosion of glitter.
The Cyprus-born British designer is known for his minimalist, elegant and sculptural creations, which have been worn by Bjork and featured in exhibitions and theatre productions around the world.
Models took to the stage at Sadler’s Wells theatre to showcase his latest collection, featuring shirts with built-in waistcoats, and carrot-shaped trousers with wrap belts in wool blend knitted felts.
For the finale, they ripped off geometric print panels on the front of their dresses — helpfully labelled “Pull To Open” — to unleash a spurt of glittery foil streamers onto the ground.
“It was a combination of a protest and a celebration — I wanted these very tacky things coming out, that I found very beautiful,” Chalayan told reporters backstage.
“That’s what life is, that you can have that duality — the protest element, but also the purity.”
Elsewhere, there were cashmere black dresses cut to look as if they were falling off the shoulders, bold black and white prints and delicate tops embroidered with hand-drawn Greek figures.
Chalayan, whose parents were Turkish Cypriots, started his career in London, where he was twice named Designer of the Year.
But like many of his peers, flew the nest for the commercial opportunities of Paris.
“We felt we were making this very big effort, but a lot of people weren’t coming. When we moved to Paris our business grew considerably,” he said.
Returning to London this season to join British names such as Burberry, Mulberry, Christopher Kane and J.W. Anderson, has delighted his British fans.
But will he stay? “I don’t know yet. Let’s see.”