Chalayan London Fashion Week Women’s S/S 2019
Scene setting: Chalayan’s esoteric, incisive work has left journalists and fashion editors enduringly bewildered for more than two decades. His seasonal collections, most notably the often highly performative shows that go with them, are locked in the annals of fashion history. The presentation of his abstract S/S 2019 show took place at Sadler’s Wells. Here, models walked out across the white-lit stage into a corner before turning around again. This movement had a choreographic intention: the collection interrogated the meaning of happiness from the four corners of the world. The process was one of probing attitudes.
Mood board: S/S 2019 built upon the themes in both his recent Men’s and Resort collections – looking to the North, South, East and West and abstracting their tropes. Chalayan’s interpretation of said tropes is uniquely his own; from the East he explored the bent towards preservation and protection, so halter-neck dresses were wrapped in cotton silk and tulle; a fluid scarf was fed through slashes on the front of a jacket as if bursting through. Tailored blazers were displaced on the body, yanked back, to reference the Roman abduction of the Sabines around 752 BC – an horrific part of Western history, which has heroic status in Roman mythology. Bullet-studded espadrilles symbolised the hedonism and chaos of the South; the North, shown as a gridded system that works in conjunction with nature, formed the basis of prints seen on dresses and tiered skirts.
Best in show: Grey pinstripe tailoring was standout. A three button blazer cut with wide shoulders had drawstring running down the front – ruched up to create a new shape on the hip. A large waistcoat had the same detail and was worn over a white shirt. Curvilinear shapes cut in white and blue thick-striped Japanese jersey were pieced together creating a glitched silhouette. The outlines of nubby grid-textured jackets and trousers were cut into 3D shapes. They had a computational, futuristic look about them.§