A little window into my world

Monday, 5 April 2010

Hussein Chalayan @ The Design Museum London

A short report from final year of University about Hussein Chalayan's exhibition.

"Hussein Chalayan is one of the most visionary designers working in fashion today", and this is clearly demonstrated in the "first comprehensive presentation of Hussein Chalayan's work in the UK" at the Design Museum in London. Possibly one of the most exciting exhibitions I have attended in a while, Chalayan's work spoke to me on a creative level beyond fashion. Incorperating new media technology, with a design ethos that challenges social and economical ideas, this presentation of Chalayan's work is a window into the identity of the designer behind it.

Chalayan: The exhibition

These is an immediate artistic atmosphere that surrounds one after walking into the exhibition. The lighting and composition of the instillation's creates and uncertain mood of what might lay ahead. It is not just the pieces being exhibited that create this exciting and unknown feeling, it is the way that they are presented to us. The combined use of performance, art instillation's and video to present his concepts make this exhibition stand alone from other current fashion presentations.

It is not so much what is being exhibited, but how it is being exhibited that captures the imaginations of those visiting. It is the combination of fashion and new media technology that is of interest. There is a close relationship between these two industries in real life, and so using them to draw together his work is an interesting concept. This is a combination that Chalayan uses to present his work on the catwalk, as well as at exhibitions similar to this one.

The composition of the exhibition itself is like none other presented in London at this current time. Everything about it screams 'visionary'. There is nothing ordinary about this. Unlike the V&A exhibitions it is not all presented in one room, there is a narrative to the exhibition. You have to go on a journey around the work of Chalayan, and take a long hard look at the life of the designer behind the creations. It is this journey that perhaps makes the exhibition progress. The final presentation is in video form. It feels as if the stand still instillation's are leading you through to the final presentation of his work. This build up creates a sense of closure on the exhibition.

Chalayan: His life and his work

Hussein Chalayan is renowned for his use of innovative materials as well as his meticulous pattern cutting and progressive attitude towards new technology, all of which qualities are exhibited in the work presented to us in this exhibition. These is a clear sense of design identity presented here, which perhaps brings together all of this explorations of who he is and his own background. His work presents ideas of displacement , migrancy and cultural identity, reflective of his own upbringing living between two cultures.

"Chalayan's work demonstrates his unique ability to combine beautiful and wearable clothes for today with an intriguing vision of the future" This is something that strikes you most about his work. The exhibition shows the diversity of his work from haute couture pieces to his ready to wear work. Each garment is beautifully crafted to present a combination of his political and cultural ideas past, present and future.

"Chalayan describes his work as being a narrative incorporating different themes. His shows are designed to be a cultural experience for the spectator. Many of the themes explored in his work derive from his own personal history and cultural identity combined with his experience living and working in London". This is clear to see from this exhibition. It is this quality alone that makes Hussein Chalayan's work so inviting compared with other current designers.

It is his expression of his colourful background and his views that are the strongest influence on his work and bring a new sense of trend to his creations. There are political and cultural trends from the past that influence his current work that is for the future. It is in the bringing together of all these elements that make Chalayan's work stand alone from other designers.

To Conclude

This is one of the most exciting fashion exhibitions that I have attended a long time. Chalayan's work speaks to me on a level beyond fashion. The political, cultural and visionary ideas presented in his work are what makes him such a visionary designer. The exhibition itself is a reflection of how Chalayan chooses to present his designs, "His acclaimed runway shows function as performance pieces, which allow him to express important concepts". This is strongly reflected in this presentation of Hussein Chalayan's work at the Design Museum London.