I recently had to do some research into Hussein Chalayan whom I'd actually never heard of before, (I guess that show's the true breadth of my knowledge). I looked at a couple of his collections and needless to say I was impressed, very impressed. Staying true, it seems to my new androgynous obsession I fell white in love with his newest 'ready-to-wear' collection, Sakoku. Now before I write about the collection it's self. I thought that you would perhaps benefit from a quick definition of 'Sakoku' as Hussein Chalayan puts a lot of thought into his concepts and ideas; he lets his inspiration truly take form in his creations.
Sakoku roughly translates into "locked country" and is from Japan's isolationist policy, put into place from 1633 to 1853. This policy allowed for no one to enter Japan and for no one to leave, people caught doing so faced death. Wikipedia has a great article on sakoku here. Hussein Chalayan rigidly incorporated the idea into his latest collection. The showing of the collection was done via video, isolating the models and cutting them off from any audience, much like the sakoku regime. The video is very eerie and that is helped a lot by the music and sounds, but also very elegant and minimalist. Vogue has it here if you want to watch it, and i well recommend that you should!
The first looks too be shown were very androgynous, with straight cut shirts, waistcoats and the models veiled. The shoes worn represented ankle cuffs, as a thick band encircled each ankle. A small introduction of light blues, and greasy entered when the models lost veils, however much of the clothing retained it's 'boyish' shape. Finally there was the entrance of the floaty floral dress, this could have potentially been a reference to the final abolishment of the policy, however three masked ' puppeteer's' surrounded the model as she walked moving the fabric for her. A symbol of Japans holds over the people in that time period. After this both simultaneously beautiful yet also chilling dress. A range of startlingly bright colorful appeared, before returning to the monochromatic palate of previous.
I found Hussein’s depth into his research inspiring as he took everything he could from the sakoku policy and turned into a collection that both spoke politically about such an alarming era and managed to hold beauty at the same time.
Although I have chosen to analyze this collection, I suggest that you take a look at his site (here) because he has all his collections archived there and with each he has taken the time to thoroughly research his idea's and incorporate them into his work, creating beautiful collections, infect one of my other favorites is his 2007 S/S collection, one hundred and eleven where he created dresses that changed and morphed themselves into new positions, With on even completely disappearing up into the model's hat leaving her bare on the catwalk. He is defiantly one to be admired and he is most definitely on my list of top designers!
Lots of Love