Major retrospective opening at the Louvre? Check. Launch of a critically acclaimed fragrance? Check. Garnering lots of positive vibes from the chattering classes of fashion, architecture and art (all at the same time)? Check. Just when you think there can be nothing left on Hussein Chalayan’s ‘To Do’ list for the summer, the designer brings out a huge, lavishly illustrated monograph, offering a comprehensive examination of his complete body of work to date.
Launched for the first time last week at an understated book signing in Mayfair’s Dover Street Market, Hussein Chalayan the book is published by Rizzoli and edited by Robert Violette. Including as much of the behind the scenes drawings and sketches as the catwalk shows, videos and other mixed-media endeavors of the London-based designer, the tome provides a rich insight into the influences and inspirations that have shaped his work. Essays from Judith Clark, Susannah Frankel, Emily King and Sarah Mower - among others - provide ample reading matter for the browser who can tear themselves away from the pictures.
Chalayan has never been one to do things by halves. ‘My whole thing with fashion was that I wanted it to reflect life,’ Chalayan once said of his multidisciplinary approach. ‘Other disciplines do that. I wanted an all-encompassing approach and through that I would also learn. I always like to read theory. Generally, more and more, I like contradictions, the things we know but can’t articulate.’
Chalayan, for all his subsequent achievements, is still best known as the designer who transformed a coffee table into a wooden skirt. And with this book, he’s created the ideal accessory to it.