Chalayan A/W 2020 London Fashion Week Men’s
Mood board: At the very moment bushfires are ravaging New South Wales, Chalayan presented a collection inspired by the environment. In particular, he spent the season exploring how it may shape our worldview and dress, researching the animist belief system of Indigenous Australians who create ‘songlines’. Walking across the land, they turn their tracks into music. ‘I liked the idea of looking at my own path and how I could re-punctuate that in an urban setting,’ he said. The collection explored humanity’s connection to the land. The Orient and their rituals around the seasons inspired the cuts of the clothes and a singular graphic print.
Best in show: As a self-confessed ‘process based designer’, Chalayan is happiest when research allows him to revisit and revive ongoing themes. In 1998 he staged one of his most political shows, exploring the chador and the parameters of Islamic women’s dress around the body – the models wore metallic rectangles around their faces. Much in the same way for his A/W 2020 menswear, the silhouette considered the body a frame. A tailored coat pulled its lapel from the inside; trousers had a warped drape. Shirting bibs cascaded down the shoulders. ‘The framing is the actuality of the body, which started in that show,’ he said. ‘After 25 years, I have these reoccurring ideas that I like working on. I like to develop them and reemphasise them to remind myself.’
Sound bite: Much of Chalayan’s offering twists and blends archetypes into singular garments that cannot be categorised. A waistcoat is fitted into a bomber. A tailored single-pleat trouser falls into a trackpant; capes morph into coveralls. The interrupted seams of trousers flute out; a new lapel arrives from underneath another. He says,‘The hybrid is something I am interested in; I think it is a lot to do with me coming from another background, growing up here. London is important to me because you can be a citizen without worrying about where you come from.’ §