Chalayan: Experimental tailoring with the inevitable twist

Chalayan: Experimental tailoring with the inevitable twist
A mini master-class in experimental tailoring from Hussein Chalayan on Sunday morning, a reminder that even as he celebrates his 25th anniversary as a designer this gent keeps on coming up with path-breaking ideas.

Chalayan Menswear Fall/Winter 2019-20 – London – Photo: Chalayan

There were barely a half-century of guests at this show, nonetheless, every critic of note at the London menswear season showed up to witness an understated, restrained but ultimately bold fashion statement from one of the greats of British design.
The collection was named “Pre-Tension”, suggesting different facets of life and fashion taking on new roles. It jumbled up military, countryside, equestrian and tailoring with cunning.
“Pretense in all mediums can healthily lift us away from our reality, adding richness to the monotony of our lives,” said the designer in his program notes.
Presented inside his small Mayfair boutique, the cast of 21 models sauntered around a black abstract wooden boat wearing perfectly cut, soft-shouldered micro-houndstooth pale gray coats finished with black knit patch pockets; the same houndstooth was cut as sleeveless jacket-waistcoats; elegant padded and peak-collared slate gray workers’ jackets, where the collars became straps that cross crossed the body and the sleeves ballooned and were articulated. All in rather revolutionary 3D shapes and cutting techniques.
Chalayan also sent out priestly-shaped long ceremonial black coats topped with matelassé waistcoats finished with zips. Anchored with Chalayan’s new logo rubber Wellington boots the mood was somber yet thoroughly cool.
The models entered from the street outside, their lips finished with orange gloss like a ski block.
“It was about dressing for certain occasions; a running theme for me; from riding to sartorial to country walks all looped together,” said Chalayan, who has always had a tart tongue. When an Italian editor asked him whether “his entrepreneurial profile means he plans to open new stores?” Chalayan responded:  “Mate, if you have the money, I’ll open one next month. You name the city!”
Not part of any group, a true Indie brand, Chalayan began his runway career back in 1994, just around the corner in the Grosvenor Gallery.
How does he plan celebrate his quarter century? “Please give me some ideas man! I have so many things I like to bring out, and so many new looks, I think I need two shows!” he laughed. “Just be here in London on the 18th of February!”

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