October 05, 2005 Paris
Cleaned-up and pared-down are two of the emerging buzz phrases of the season, and Chalayan's radar has clearly tuned in to that frequency. But his intelligence has also locked on to the fact that today's minimalism can't be a rehash of the nineties. Instead, he's working out a curvilinear, sculptural, sometimes 3-D alternative, one that happens to make an excellent foil for a great body.
A white cut-out dress, bare at the waist and embroidered and embossed with vine leaves, was one example. Others were the dresses that suspended scarflike prints from heavy-duty black bras. Something in all this triggered memories of early Versacea source many young designers are beginning to ransack in London, where Chalayan lives. That burst of inspiration has put him on a new track and, apparently, in a new, lightened-up mood. At the end of his show, he kindly provided anyone worried about where these clothes would be worn with a visual clue: a short blue dress with nightclub ropes bound into it.