PEDAL TO THE METAL: Hussein Chalayan’s fall 2012 show today will feature two dresses with graphic, sculptural necklines made of palladium. For the uninitiated, palladium is a lustrous white metal — the latest to be designated a precious metal as of 2009 — known for its strength despite its lightweight nature. Chalayan said the two designs are a “teaser” to his new multiseason partnership with the International Palladium Board, or IPB, and its new fashion program, Palladium Visions, which launched with a fine jewelry program recently during London Fashion Week.

If the IPB has anything to do with it, you’ll be hearing much more about palladium and its many uses — from industrial design to fashion. IPB has plans to roll out several fashion-driven partnerships in the next year, the first of which is with Chalayan, for whom technology and mechanics are a signature design motif. “It was a very natural gravitation for me,” said Chalayan, noting that he’s worked with metals in the past but didn’t know much about palladium until this project. “Think about aircraft. Aircraft have to be light and strong. Palladium is interesting [when] used for stuff that’s supposed to have the appearance of something heavy but is quite light.” Chalayan backed the metal with plates of neon Perspex, whose “color oozes out from behind.”

This story first appeared in the March 2, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

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