The alternative luxury fashion brand Chalayan were true to form with their AW17 collection presentation at Sadler’s Wells theatre on the second day of London Fashion Week.

Cypriot-born designer, Hussein Chalayan, is known for innovative design, beautiful tailoring and a minimalist elegant aesthetic and this season’s collection is no exception. Through design powered by intellectual considerations, setting early 19th century ideals of personhood against our own results in conflicting senses of empowerment and repression, of individuality and isolation, emphasised by the performance-like staging of the presentation.

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Drawing on the Balkan era of Greek Folk culture for his exploration of the concept of “world citizenship” in the modern era, overall loose and relaxed shapes constructed of wool blend knitted felts in anthracite and concrete, showed subtle hints of Greek tradition.

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Classic coats and jackets in double faced felt and wool compositions had built-in folk waistcoats, while crisp white shirts were detailed with medallion like accessories. Loose trousers and pencil skirts had integrated wrap belts. Prints were patterned with hand drawn Greek figures and scribbles, feminine dresses looked close to falling off the shoulder, and uneven hemlines interrupted and jolted clean lines. Unusual and textured fabrics were created by printing on velvet or fusing an Ancient Greek city map with a modern Manhattan grid system on to jacquard.

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Raw edges and simple lines gave off a utilitarian look, contrasted by the carefully constructed nips, tucks and details revealed on closer inspection. An seemingly single piece of loosely draped black silk became immensely beautiful as it flowed around the body.

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Atmospheric lighting hung over models whose unusual and striking silhouettes glided under spotlights, at times subdued, at others, ripping open the front panels of their tops releasing glitter on to the stage.

Overall the seemingly understated collection presented enigmatic, fluid pieces that hold a sense of spontaneity and charm.

By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 19th February 2017.
Photos: Kimberley Archer

For further information about Chalayan visit here.