Returning to the London schedule after 16 years of showing in Paris, Hussein Chalayan said he wanted to convey a sense of “protest and celebration” following his Saturday morning show at Sadler’s Wells Theater.
His finale said it all: The looks were inset with papery panels at the bodice, which models tore off to reveal a cascade of feathers or glittery streamers.
“There’s a kind of aggression in that you need to tear them, but the things that come out are quite charming,” said the designer.
The designer also wanted to explore the idea of the “new, isolated individuals that the current world order is generating,” while drawing on elements of Greek folk culture and Ancient Greek sculptures.
While his inspirations might have been as multilayered as ever, they resulted in designs with a spare, serene appeal. Chalayan’s signature draped and sculptural silhouettes had an austere air, particularly against the backdrop of the theater’s unadorned, shadowy stage.
He channeled wool felt, in sober shades of brown, gray and black, into pieces that ranged from a girlish, drop-waisted dress to a sleek, columnlike gown. Its pleats ran from the neck to the ankles, and it was worn with leather evening gloves to add a sense of occasion.
Also noteworthy were designs that worked elements of tailoring into feminine shapes. A black wool, floor-length dress had a top that resembled a jacket, fashioned to sit off the shoulder and revealing the collarbones. Another black jacket was reworked as a corset. It was buttoned over a snappy white shirt and tailored black pants.