Fresh from his six-month sabbatical, Hussein Chalayan is back in business, and better than ever. After the comparatively lackluster presentations of Milan, Chalayan opened Paris fashion week with a much-needed burst of creative energy.

"The collection was based on cursing, voodoo and superstition," said the designer after the show, adding that he had been inspired by a book called The Dictionary of Superstition. Balancing high-concept experimentation with urban practicality, Chalayan's deconstructed panels, zippered layers and off-kilter silhouettes came together beautifully. Short, pleated skirts with streamers and asymmetric sleeveless tops looked effortless, despite their elaborate seaming and detailing. A green, tooled leather jacket with gathered shoulders and dangling cords was an exercise in sculptural precision; frayed-edge jackets, practical minis and lace-up trousers had plenty of real-world appeal.

Chalayan devotees remember that his college graduation project consisted of iron-filled paper clothes that had been buried in his garden and allowed to rust. In a reprise of that strategy, some parts of Chalayan's stunning final dresses had once again been buried and aged, giving them a timeless, almost mythic aura.