Hussein Chalayan has been exploring the concept for his new collection, Through, for a while. Reenvisioning a journey through the physical space of his office scarcely suggests a promising fashion inspiration, but the designer already proved with his Pre-Fall Chalayan offering that such a fiercely abstract notion could produce concretely attractive clothing. And he carried over the best pieces. Crumbling drywall was duplicated in gorgeous shar-pei-like fake furs. Angora, mohair, and wool were intarsia-ed together in huge sweaters that looked, at a pinch, like flaking posters. The great print composed of makeup palettes had here been fuzzed and abstracted with the addition of fringe. And the conversion of three dimensions into two—the actual folding of space—was once again present in Chalayan's seamless draping.
Postshow, he insisted all that Pre-Fall preamble was just a starting point for his new collection. He'd gone beyond, to abstract the abstraction. Perhaps that's why there were a few too many droopy folding bits, a bit too much unresolved formlessness. And yet Chalayan does languor with ingenuity and wit. The final organza dresses featured panels that peeled back to reveal silvery, sinewy threads, almost intestinal, except they were beautiful. There were a couple of other gauzy gowns with an intriguing but mysterious texture that, on closer examination, turned out to be press-on fingernails in a full spectrum of finishes. Rihanna has been all over Paris in the past few days, but if she truly wants clothes that are a conversation piece, she need look no further.