Trust the laser intellect of Hussein Chalayan to give the concept of the "pre-collection" a literal spin. The proposals he offered in January arrived fully formed on his catwalk today in a collection called Rise, with a transcendent sense of movement up, up, and away from a past that dogs him as fashion's arch-conceptualist. There may have been a nod to that today with a dress that transformed, with a model's violent wrench at her neckline, from a relatively prim cocktail number to a full-length gown. (Feel the transformation! Look 33!). But mostly there was a sense of Chalayan turning his intellectual and design capabilities to the creation of a distinctly urban wardrobe. Jeans, a sweatshirt, and a biker jacket: Who would ever have imagined that Hussein Chalayan would go there? Of course, he did it in his own way, twisting or exaggerating the familiar.
One of the most striking textural effects conveyed peeling billboards on the bad side of town. The iridescent print that duplicated thermal imaging of electricity was equally effective. But the impression that lingered longest was Chalayan's mastery of shape: His mix of hourglass silhouette and subtle asymmetry flattered the female form with consummate modernity.