Chalayan A/W 2019 London Fashion Week Men’s
Scene setting: Hussein Chalayan’s esoteric, incisive work has left journalists and fashion editors enduringly bewildered for more than two decades, yet his menswear offerings have received less analysis. The line was re-launched in 2014 after an eight-year hiatus. His men’s clothes are characterised by the same conceptual rigour as his womenswear line, yet have more architectural details. Tailoring is often riffed into modular shapes that piece together and can be worn in multiple ways. Collars on shirts can be left unfurled; sleeves can be detached. Throughout his career Chalayan has made films and installations, showing them in galleries and museums whilst running a commercial business. For all of the grand conceptual works he has made throughout his career, in his menswear the contrast sleeve on a two button blazer or the élan of a single pleat jersey trouser are the hallmarks of a workable, wearable wardrobe.
Mood board: Autumn/winter 2019 followed the same theme as his womenswear pre-collection and looked at the the notion of ‘pre-tension’ – examined both in its negative, accusatory meaning and also in the tactility of tensions in fabrics, shape and construction. The very word ‘pretentious’ is most often deployed to mock or remind people of their status, be that of wealth, intelligence, class. Chalayan argues that actors in films pretend, writers create stories. Musicians make up sounds. Art and fashion are perhaps the most direct embodiment of imagined circumstances. ‘Pretence in all mediums can healthily lift us away from our reality, adding richness to the monotony of our lives,’ the show notes read. The collection considered the different activities that remove the body from the mundane into newer realms from the fierce freshness of the ski slopes, the verve of equestrian pursuits to the fantasy of fetish. Panels were added around trousers, adding a new layer of dynamism when in motion. Light classic tailoring fabrics were pleated and layered. Zips at the shoulders on mini vests opened to sag down the shoulder. Urgent drapes swung off the leg of trousers.
Best in show: For autumn/winter 2019, seams were consciously curved or strictly straight. A forest pattern was painted in Chinese style over textured fabrics in acid brights. Standout were two looks in rich camel; a V-neck, piped jacket worn over a white t-shirt and a three button wool coat worn with curled seam track pants. §