Backstage after his show, Hussein Chalayan was trying patiently to explain to a pair of Italian journalists who were in desperate need to know the “message” and the “meaning” behind his latest work that it was really up to them to pull out and interpret the themes of his designs.
Granted, the title of his signature show did give something away. Called “Moor’s Gaze," it was a clear evolution from his pre-collection titled “Moor’s Chorus.” The designer seems still to be enchanted by the look and feel of North Africa and Andalusia, and the Maghreb connection between Spain and Morocco. That persistent fascination conjured up a fresh and tonic collection on Friday.
The start of the show leaned more towards the designer’s flair for artistic, rather then real world, garments. A series of “suits” which consisted of shorts with long panels of fabric pooling down to the floor, and sliced open jackets, looked stylish on the catwalk but would struggle on the city streets.
However Chalayan quickly moved on to designs that found a better equilibrium. His lattice print ensembles, and later ones that looked as if they had been set in the shade of a tree and the hot sun had then burned its silhouette into the fabric, were both evocative and wearable. The same goes for some charming graphic patterned outfits inspired by irrigation channels. The designer revealed that the smattering of green trees in the print represented the orange trees that often accompany those channels.