It was fitting that the Fall/Winter 2010 Hussein Chalayan show began with a voice-over tribute to the late Alexander McQueen. Like McQueen, Chalayan is an artist and a showman in addition to being very cerebral in his design approach. In keeping with the showman aspect that the designer is known for, his collection this season was about a road journey through the United States. With that, everything from binoculars and Amish-inspired hats, to hoodies and Lady Gaga-esque face coverings made their way onto the runway.
Given that Chalayan was inspired by an exploration of the U.S., it’s perhaps fitting that his pieces were infinitely more wearable than they have been in seasons past, and will likely appeal to a significantly wider demographic than the fashion-collectors his clothing usually appeals to.
It was unfortunate that the designer opted to show a great deal of his outerwear with big, boxy silhouettes, since the pieces would have held higher appeal had they been more tailored. Surprisingly, it was his cocktail looks that were the most memorable. Maybe it was a Texas inspiration, but the blouses and sweaters the designer showed with oversized, flat contrasting shoulder details, stood out even though designers from A to Z have been exploring shoulders for the last two seasons.
The camel looks that included a beautiful cape coat were also beautiful, and could easily go from the runway straight to the street – something one can rarely say about Chalayan’s clothes from the runway. Overall, the collection felt somewhat jumbled (though perhaps that was the point). If one wasn’t aware of the designer’s inspiration, it might seem as though you were looking at 10 different collections put together.
It’s somewhat disappointing for those of us who love the technological and fabric innovations that Chalayan is usually so good at incorporating into his designs to see that very few made the cut this season. The designer is greatly underrated, and doesn’t enjoy the retail success he deserves, so I’m curious to see whether he has greater success with a more commercial collection.
Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.