A Gentle Rise

Interview by Stephanie Peh
Images courtesy of Hussein Chalayan

His Autumn/Winter 2013 show was a gentle rise itself, beginning with a steady pace of consistently smart patterns and refined cuts before arriving at its climax. An unexpected tug at the neckline transforms one garment into another, and a dress emerges with two different souls. The process of the transformation itself was pure visual adrenaline and a showstopper; a creation epic to witness, leaving the audience with a longing to adorn.

Taking inspiration from the dull and raw effect of peeling walls, some pieces were made with laser cut-outs and carefully selected kaleidoscopic colours. London-based fashion designer Hussein Chalayan seems to effortlessly take invention to the next level with each new collection, seamlessly marrying concept and commerce. We catch him in the midst of his travels before he makes his way to our sunny island for the Audi Fashion Festival 2013, where he will be showing the entire collection with a few additional light pieces ideal for our hot and humid climate.

Your Autumn/Winter 2013 collection, Rise, is spectacular. Could you please tell us the story behind the collection?

The whole collection was based on the dichotomy between disembodiment and being earthbound. Domestic references combine with garments which appear to be escaping, like the spirit leaving a body but never quite leaving.

That is beautiful. What do the respective states of disembodiment and metamorphosis mean to you personally?

I feel that the constant state of flux is what keeps life going. With this in mind, I always want to work from inspiration, which involves movement and change so that the clothes have a sense of life within themselves.

Speaking of movement and change, how do you take flight from your work? What comes after?

The ideals of escapism for me is simply to make life more interesting. What comes after is unpredictable, as one thing leads to another.

What is your working process like, from inception to the final product?
It starts instinctively, then gets rationalised at later stages. These are visual processes which cannot be explained, but there is a lot of experimentation and back and forth before the collection is finalised. My work has always been about juxtapositions and making connections between alien worlds.

A Gentle Rise

Read more in The U Press N˚2 (Singapore edition).