Hussein Chalayan, who once stated “I like technology because it’s the only thing that allows you to do new things”, is a designer after our own heart. Known first for his brilliant cutting techniques, his dabbling of technology first caught the headlines back 2006. Chalayan unveiled a series of dresses that morphed from one design into another. Then, for his AW07 he introduced a dress resembling a pixilated screen because of the 15,000 LEDs embedded into the fabric. For his SS08, he debuted a collection of dresses embellished with Swarovski crystals which emitted lasers. Now, as he shows his AW17/18 collection at LFW, we cannot help but have big tech expectations. As the first model walks out, it becomes immediately clear that this season, Mr Hussein has decided to take another route.
The show was androgynous at its best. The models showed off a collection that spoke nomad to me. The look was inspired by the trends of yesteryear. It spoke of a woman who did not need to show off the female form, but just show off the cut of the clothes.
Nondescript but vocal in its detail, the collection embraced the art of layering. The trousers boasted triangular shaped cuts with pocket details. The tops were minimalistic with a cut that revealed the feminine curve of the clavicle bone. Some of the skirts grabbed our attention with the marrying of two different materials. The shoes were simple with a masculine edge. The show stopper was the long sexy leather gloves that magically added an allure to the outfit.
Celebrating the rather ‘boring’ colours of browns and greys, Chalayan somehow made it work. As the show progressed, colour started to slowly creep into the collection. There was some white and also hints of other colours, making their debut.
As the 15th model stomped onto the runway, I took note of their appearance. It was one of no make-up, pulled back hair and an overall un-welcoming facial expression that made me not want to look at them. A good thing I guess, since it is, after all, about the clothes not the model.
With no celebrity models to distract viewers away from the collection, we expected Chalayan to give us something at the end. We waited with anticipation. I wanted to see what technology or technology-inspired ending he would finish on. Just before the runway show ended, there it was. The models walked midway up the runway, took a pause, before ripping their top abruptly, causing some Christmas like tinsel to fall out.
I must admit the first time it happened, I had a moment of excitement run through me, but by the third model I was thinking, you are ruining the clothes. I also wondered what the ripping symbolized. The falling tinsel must mean something, right? Well, I hoped so.
As the last model walked off the catwalk I sighed. I had hoped to see the kind of innovation that made Mr Chalayan the unofficial voice of tech on the runway. Maybe I expected too much, but I still hold hope that he will soon reveal the technology behind the collection.