Hussein Chalayan at the Design Museum, UK

A student recently contacted me asking who were my ‘heroes’ in art and fashion. I have none in fashion. I know very little about fashion but I seem to be developing a passion for the work of designer Hussein Chalayan. Originally from Cyprus he now works in London and shows his work internationally. And at last I’ve seen his garments and related work in the flesh! ‘From fashion and back’ is currently on show at the Design Museum, London. It features not only the infamous buried silk dress made as a student during the early 90s but also a range of current garments very much informed by his interests including architecture, science and philosophy. Related work covers video installation (not necessarily the catwalk) and videos of Tilda Swinton (considered by artist Derek Jarman to be his favourite actress) shown extracting cells to examine DNA sequences. This is ‘The Absent Presence’ (2005) shown at the Venice Biennale when Hussein Chalayan was invited to represent Turkey. The concept was to ‘map out’ a DNA sequence on to a garment and ‘sensitize’ it so that it reacted to different sounds within the London environment. Although not my original intention in visiting London it was certainly worth the four hour train journey to see this show.

This exhibition is the first comprehensive presentation of Hussein Chalayan’s work in the UK and runs until May 17.

submitted by Lesley Bricknell

01. April 2009 by Mackenzie Kelly-Frère
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