Hussein Chalayan's ability to turn high concept into clothing has sharpened with the passage of time. If it sometimes seems like there's a chasm between the inspiration and the actuality, you will eventually find yourself arriving at an "Oh, I get it now" moment once Chalayan starts to explain the stages of his creative process. With his new Resort collection, for instance, the designer was mulling over something he called "appreciation fatigue," the inability to appreciate life's magical little moments. "We're spoiled," Chalayan said. "So I wanted to optimize those moments in summer through the clothes you wear." He was especially taken by the notion of a woman at her most relaxed, poolside or on the beach, casually wrapped in a towel. That look shaped the collection—literally. A blazer and a long tuxedo dress were cleverly wrapped 'n' tucked in front. One laser-cut shift shape in oyster satin featured a towel-like fold; others were slit up the leg, the way a towel naturally falls open. There was an airiness to the idea that countered what might have been mere trickiness.
An image of couples kissing on a beach was abstracted into a subtly psychedelic print for a spaghetti-strap sundress or one of Chalayan's urban sweatshirts. What he does to seams twists the familiar in unexpected ways—that dress was draped and pleated on the bias so it had a little natural swirl—but it's part of his maturity as a designer that his innately experimental bent is now integrated enough that it doesn't get in the way of accessibility or sensuality.