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There seem to be two designers that have a strong influence over the collections thus far – Hussein Chalayan from his early work and Rei Kawakubo.

The Chalayan Construct_

_was evident in the styling and presentation of  the Marios Schwab collection for Halston – the hats may link back to the start of Halston’s career as a milliner but they remind me more of Chalayan’s headpieces. As do the almost medical-looking boots and the set design of the presentation. Jarring tongues of glass and metal. There’s nothing wrong with this, per se. I just like following the trail of thought – Fashion Etymology, so to speak.

Hussein Chalayan, Lilly Heine

Looking at the leather hats at Narciso Rodriguez brings to mind the leather headrests that Chalayan integrated into shifts in the Echoform A/W 1999 collection. One of the stars from the Saint Martins MA show, Lilly Heine, used laser cutting to create contoured reliefs in geometric forms that again hinted at Chalayan’s layered shifts from the Geotropics show. Add to all this, the current obsession with geometry and mathematics coming through in the complex folds and sculpted forms, everywhere from Peter Pilotto, Louise Goldin, Calvin Klein to Marios Schwab, it would seem that we’re having a Chalayan Moment. Not surprising as the late 90s seem to be the buzzword. It would be interesting to see what the man himself does this season.

clockwise from top left: Hussein Chalayan, Marios Schwab for Halston, Halston archive, Hussein Chalayan, Narciso Rodriguez

The Kawakubo Curse_

_childhood fables,the broken doll, ghost bride, Romance Fragile… The Zingara gypsy,commonly seen on the streets of Milan, around Stazione Centrale, on the Metro. Her full, grubby skirt swinging about her ankles, the floral blouses layered one atop the other, the chink of coin necklaces, pendants and bracelets, the gold teeth, a flash seen through a crooked smile, the greasy, khol-black hair, locks clinging around her weathered, desperate face, the cloying smell of patchouli… A frightful, thieving creature and an unlikely muse, you would think. I didn’t see this one coming but since Alexander Wang’s dubious outing in New York, The Gypsy Woman seems to be gaining momentum, running against the wind. Rodarte’s muddle of pattern and texture, Meadham Kirchoff’s Gypsy Rose bedouin vagrant, replete with crown and veil… Its a path much trodden by Rei Kawakubo. However, there is something artful and appealing about the spontaneity of the silhouette. Romantic, each decorative, colourful layer begging to be touched. Peasant Grunge, if you like but I’m not sure how this translates in a winter season. All those flyaway tendrils of chiffon. Broken down into individual pieces in a showroom the garments will be more evident and also how well they will assimilate into more contemporary looks. It would be interesting to see what actually makes it to the shop floor. The nomadic layering is something the stylist Alasdair McLellan had already started at Missoni last winter. There it somehow made sense and rejuvenated the house’s famed but tad démodé knits. It felt urbane. Nevertheless, its an interesting argument. Let’s see if the big boys and girls  in Milan and Paris take it further and give it a seal of approval or if this one’s going to flap away into the distance.

You beggar believe me: Meadham Kirchoff, Missoni

Full Circle: Hussein Chalayan, Ambimorphous AW 2002

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