Hussein Chalayan joined forces with Swarovski once again for a glittering, ground-breaking collection.
London-based designer Hussein Chalayan presented a small, 9-piece collection for SS16 in collaboration with Swarovski at PFW today and, as his sixth collaboration and tenth year with the crystal company, it was an impressive celebration. The collaboration has produced some of the designer’s most iconic pieces, such as the famous AW07 LED dresses that helped cement Chalayan’s reputation as a fearless innovator. Perhaps his success with Swarovski is down to his approach to design: “I try to think of what would work rather just making something and putting crustal over it afterwards. It’s a much more integrated approach to design.”
The pieces in the show were, unsurprisingly, technically ambitious designs, the most memorable of which were the military-inspired garments worn by two guard-like models who were then sprayed with water which then melted their soluble outfits to reveal a three-dimensional fabric complete with palm trees. Militaria was transmuted into sparkling, luxury clobber: a statement of some political import? Perhaps.
Elsewhere, with Cuba as another inspiration, playful prints seemed to riff on vacation shirts that might have been worn in the 50s – an important era in terms of Cuba’s aesthetic in the popular consciousness. Other than that, it was pretty much back-to-back, red carpet showstoppers all the way: jaw-dropping stuff.
Words: Benji Walters