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September 2 2014

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chalayan’s challenge

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Hussein Chalayan always bowls a surprise to his audience, and it always involves some kind of technology. This season, it wasn’t a grand theater production, but a movie, conceptual as ever, but this time shown in a tiny art gallery, with a few seats placed around a basic projection screen—first come, first served—with everyone else standing or sitting on the floor. The visuals had been done by Nick Knight’s SHOWstudio, and they presented fashion reviewers with the problem of a) seeing the clothes clearly and b) having to demonstrate their competency as art-house film critics. From what could be gleaned, the clothes looked diaphanous, asymmetrical, and possibly very wearable—that’s the positive direction Chalayan has been moving in for several seasons. Since there were no garments on hand to inspect, though, it was hard to know the score within the known framework of fashion. Doubtless, there was beauty and underlying social symbolism embedded in the concept—but there was no time to absorb it. The result was like asking, say, sport correspondents to parse a dance performance.

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