Chalayan Ready To Wear Fall Winter 2013 Paris
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The scrum of top tier fashion journalist and buyers surrounding Hussein Chalayan backstage after his show, desperate for any insight into the inspiration behind his exceptional collection, was impressive.

It got to the point that Chalayan just handed over to the journalists a piece of paper that he had folded and refolded over time that listed the artwork and artist (Luigi Schiavonetti’s “The soul leaving the body,” Titian’s “Assumption of the Virgin” Gabriel Max’s “The Raising of the Daughter of Jairus” just to name a few) that had moved him to create the exquisite collection.

The raves were not just because the designer had come up with a large selection wearable basics for those looking for pieces with both style and sensibility. Although his ultra high cuffed dark denim jeans, tailored jackets, thick knit ribbed sweaters and quilted leather jacket should satisfy even the most discerning clientele.  Nor was the enthusiasm directed solely at the more avant garde options that had panels of billowing silks float the length of tailored pants or the jewel toned iridescent fabrics crafting tops and the lining of minimalist coats. Even the stunning “peeling paint” pieces crafted out of curling fabric appliqué were not at the heart of the buzz.

No, it was the “two for the price of one” dresses that Chalayan masterfully conceived and sprinkled throughout his show. So that when a model gave a quick tug on the neckline of say her burgundy short shift dress, the front and back of the ensemble gracefully fell down the body to transform the look into a long silky black number with a pop up iridescent 3D neckline.

“I wanted to create the sense of the garments leaving the body, but, like a reluctant spirit, never really leaving the body,” explain the designer about the idea behind those transformative designs. “Honestly I am on a trip with my own language, referring to my past work but doing it in new ways and applying it to new types of dressing,” Chalayan elaborated further.

If looking back to the brand’s archive produces stand out shows like this one, then the designer should continue digging up his past.

- Jessica Michault

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