Hussein Chalayan is one of fashion's least likely suspects to have developed a late interest in sexy dressing. Yet for Fall, that's what seems to have come over him. With hemlines sliced to buttock-grazing level, thigh-high waders suspended from bondage garters, and a glimpse of leather corseting under cutout tailoring, it was, to say the least, a bit of a surprise.
Followers of Chalayan's interest in high concept might have been more focused on his use of art-based technological fabrics. The first pieces he sent out looked almost like faceted gray concrete—they were, in fact, acetate foam—shaped into coats, funnel-neck tops, and abbreviated dresses. He'd named the collection "Earthbound"—referring to the way he'd looked at the urban streets around him in London. That gave rise, later, to prints of fences, asphalt, and manhole covers, all in shades of gray.
Like so many others, Chalayan also used his international-audience airtime to show his selling pieces: a couple of good leather jackets, and regular, honed-down black coats and blazers. Still, this was not a season in which Chalayan mustered one of his mind-blowingly memorable performances, and the high-minded intelligentsia that pays avid attention to his every thought might just need a little push to see itself getting out and about with so much body on show.