January 23, 2009
Just Opened: Hussein Chalayan at the Design Museum
The first big-ticket exhibition on the London fashion designer opened last week.
This is the first big-ticket museum exhibition on the Turkish-Cypriot-born British fashion designer, whose use of novel materials, new technologies, and special-effects wizardry has made him arguably the only contemporary couturier that matters in the architecture and design world. In 2006 he caused a sartorial stir with a collection of morphing mechanical dresses: jackets flung themselves open, skirts crept up over the knee, and one model’s dress disappeared entirely, thanks to an ingenious array of concealed motors, tiny pulleys, and invisible cables. (You can watch it all on YouTube.) A dress from his spring/summer 2008 collection (above) is adorned with more than 200 moving lasers. And now Chalayan is poised for more widespread influence. Last February, he was named the creative director of the global sportswear brand Puma—a remarkable perch for a designer who made his London debut 15 years ago with a collection of decomposed garments that he had buried in a friend’s backyard.
Hussein Chalayan: From Fashion and Back runs until May 17 at the Design Museum (Shad Thames, London; (44) 207-940-8790).
See also: Metropolis’s 2006 profile of Moritz Waldemeyer, the technical wizard behind Chalayan’s morphing dresses.