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Hussein Chalayan: Récits de Mode (Hussein Chalayan: Fashion Narratives)

Start Date 5 July 2011
End Date 11 December 2011
Venue Les Arts Décoratifs
Location Paris, France
Designer Block Architecture

Les Arts Décoratifs invites one of the most innovative and visionary fashion designers of his time, Hussein Chalayan. Engaged for seventeen years in an experimental and conceptual approach, he stands at the border between fashion, architecture and design. His work stands out for its intellectual rigor and its quest for technical improvement going so far as to challenge the stereotypes of the fashion world. From his beginnings, Hussein Chalayan distinguished himself by exploring in a very inventive way mediums such as sculpture, furniture, video or the special effects of cinema that he used for his collections, drawing directly on political, social and economy of his time. The exhibition presents this rich and complex universe in which clothes, installations, parades, projections,

Born in Nicosia in 1970, Hussein Chalayan studied in Cyprus and then settled in London, where he graduated from Central St. Martins College in 1993. The following year, he created his own house and presented his first collection with “  Buried Dresses  ”: a series of dresses buried in a garden three months before the parade, totally transformed by oxidation and deterioration of the fabrics. This presentation arouses great astonishment and the reviews are unanimously laudatory. Since then, Hussein Chalayan continues to surprise and intrigue, becoming one of the most avant-garde figures in British fashion.

A committed designer, he knows how to impose his reading of fashion, offering an awareness of the challenges of our civilization. His commitment to major social issues is never there to denounce, but rather offers a spiritual quest likely, one day perhaps, to change the course of the world. However, Hussein Chalayan is aware that her collections have to be portable and that clients don’t necessarily seek to know her creative process.

From collection to collection, he recounts his intellectual training, reveals his multicultural origins and questions the world. His influences refer to his personal history, marked by travels and uprooting, and to social problems such as conflicts in the world. In the midst of the Kosovo war, he imagined After Words (autumn-winter 2000), a collection referring to exiles and fleeing refugees, embodying the uprooted status of contemporary man. Other collections refer us to the destructive madness of men. Ventriloquy (Spring-Summer 2002) uses the color red, which recalls the simple beauty of poppies as much as the blood of soldiers who died in the war.

The variation of a traditional Turkish dress whose ethnic elements are gradually relayed, over the passages during the parade, by Western compositions characterizes the Ambimorphus collection (autumn-winter 2002). A few years later, the phenomenon is reversed. Clothing shows London’s cityscape and the influence of the world around us in the Earthbound Parade(fall-winter 2009). His collections respond to each other by reciprocal attractions and produce the interactions on which he bases his future creations. In its parades, the bodies, the voices, the music, the light, the decor and the collection leave the feeling of an autobiographical testimony. Hussein Chalayan thus explores the interactions between nature, culture and technology, transforming his ideas into monuments.

The Temporal Meditations show (spring-summer 2003), for example, has as a backdrop the image of an airplane, a symbol of speed and a recurring image of his work. Among its most emblematic dresses, Remote Control dress , with its smooth and white structure, removable, seems straight out of an aeronautical factory. Hussein Chalayan also investigates the world, its speed and its evolution. Likewise, Inertia (spring-summer 2009) symbolizes the speed of travel where the patterns used are borrowed from the automotive world. Hussein Chalayan is not unaware of the domestic universe either. The Repose collection (fall-winter 2006), refers to the reassuring framework of the habitat where the artist has incorporated elements of the furniture of the house into the clothes.

Hussein Chalayan seeks fruitful dialogues in multiple artistic disciplines that oscillate between poetry, quest for serenity and liveliness of movement. He constantly explores new fields of reflection, questions himself about the garment as well as the body that wears it, redefines the outline of the garment as its social role, never forgetting to remember that the environment holds, in his work, a as important as formal research.

The exhibition presented on two levels, without being chronological, is a decryption of the creator’s universe. On the first floor are presented the collections which constitute the foundation of his thought, those which question political, cultural, religious, geographical and technical barriers.

The second floor places more emphasis on the notions of movement: movement of the body, migrations and speed … The collections and installations are exhibited in a scenography imagined by Block Architecture , bathed in a harmony of sound and light.