Hussein Chalayan

Photo Chris Moore

Abundantly oversized yet tailored suits, capes and slinky black hooded dresses flew effortlessly down Hussein Chalayan’s AW 2010 Mirage runway show. The collection was an amalgamation of rich camel, grey and black, with hints of purple, blue and red adding splashes of freshness to the classic color palette.

Though the 40-year-old designer is normally known for futuristic creations and technical construction with a modern and edgy style, this collection stays timeless with well-fitted pieces and an unflashy color scheme.

Stand-outs include tailored, yet outsized suit jackets that transcend from masculine to feminine, and perfectly fitted dresses to accentuate feminine form. An oversized grey sweatshirt with metallic detailing on shoulders is playfully paired with intricately woven red leg warmers. Rocker-chic black leather is embellished with the same sweet red jutting out from the black, adding softness to a hard, leather-look.

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art Hussein Chalayan: 1994–2010

Though his recent collection borders much more on fashion than art, Chalayan is well noted for his conceptualized clothing as art pieces and the show was certainly an intermingled amalgamation of the two.

This sometimes-blurred line is also on display at Chalayan’s current exhibition of his work at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art. The space showcases the designer’s fashion from 1994-2010. The British based, Turkish Cypriot designer’s collection will feature not only his fashion from the past 16 years, but also his art and film projects. The display is essentially an exploration into Chalayan’s mind and trespasses through the themes of immigration, cultural identity, technical progress and his inspirations.

Chalayan, however, is not an exhibit novice. He has already showcased his work at a number of different gallery and museum spaces, including the Tate Modern and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.

Hussein Chalayan Film still from I Am Sad Leyla, 2010

His designs have been praised by industry professionals and those that choose to wear his chic creations. In 2009 he was the recipient to the Outstanding Achievement in Design at the FX International Design Awards in London, and in 2008 he won the Brit Insurance Designer of the Year award in the fashion category for the AW 2007 Airborne collection, to name a few of his accomplishments in recent years.

To further highlight his avant-garde union of art and fashion, Chalayan’s work is currently being showcased in London at the Lisson Gallery in his first solo art exhibit, titled “I Am Sad Leyla.” In this exhibit the fashion connoisseur translates his work through sculpture, audio and video.

Chalayan constantly exemplifies that he is not a creator of fashion, but an innovator of the arts with an interdisciplinary understanding of various mediums. The exhibit is a multi-room installation that deconstructs fashion and converges it into an interactive merging of creative concepts.

– Lena Vazifdar