Hussein Chalayan, Peter Saville Accuse Fashion Corporates of Crushing Creativity

LONDON — How is technology impacting creativity, and what does it really take to disrupt an industry that’s reaching saturation point?
Frieze Academy brought together a series of creatives — ranging from Kim Jones and Hussein Chalayan, to graphics expert Peter Saville and sound designer Michel Gaubert — to argue those questions in a series of talks held at the Royal Academy of Arts on Friday.
Chalayan, one of the first designers to incorporate technology into his work and present moving garments in his famous “Geotropics” collection in 1999, said technology’s impact on the arts hasn’t necessarily been a good thing.
He described wearables as “tacky” and highlighted the growing interest of handcrafted techniques: “It’s such a cliché to be chasing 3-D printing now. I liked it at the beginning, but not anymore, it no longer feels expensive somehow,” Chalayan said.
He also touched on the influence of the Internet and social media, talking about the “sense of entitlement,” that the easy access to data has created in younger generations.
“Are you really learning by Googling something?” he said, adding that social media and the rise of fashion conglomerates have both dampened creativity. Chalayan said  there is less room today to speak up, take risks and

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Chalayan RTW Spring 2018

The idea of despair twinned with entitlement — which Hussein Chalayan believes is fostered by the digital age — was the designer’s starting point for this collection. “I feel like it’s this peculiar situation that I see a lot. I teach in Vienna — I’m the head of the fashion department there, and I see it…in young people,” said Chalayan after the show. “They’re desperate but they’re really entitled as well. So I really wanted to create an aura of that.”
But this being Chalayan, he worked those ideas in oblique, rather than obvious, ways. Interpreting the idea of “framing the body,” there were jackets with nipped-in waists — some of which were cut to reveal the back, bringing a subtle femininity to those masculine shapes — paired with loosely tailored pants. Also intriguing was a series of body-skimming column dresses and tops in shades of black and red, whose structured, peaked shoulders lent a subversion to their ostensibly glamorous silhouettes.
Some of the models wore sheer headscarves and sunglasses over their faces, which the designer said nodded to a “chic yet peculiar” mood.
Perhaps the most direct reference to Chalayan’s theme was the finale of rectangular frames that shimmered with organic-looking Swarovski

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Chalayan Resort 2016

Hussein Chalayan’s breezy resort collection took inspiration from Cuba, where he traveled last year and was taken with its “hybrid” of cultures: a blend of Spanish colonial, American and later, Socialist history. “We try to always create hybrids with the way we combine ideas, but the country itself is a hybrid,” said Chalayan.

To evoke the country’s mood, Chalayan wove a gray and white jacquard depicting dancing couples and a trombone player on a bustier top and matching shorts, as “there’s music everywhere,” he said. His take on Cuba’s military dress came in a sleeveless khaki dress with military pockets at the hips and a cigar-holding pocket at the bodice. It was a youthful lineup with fun elements, such as a print of an insectlike character called Plonk, taken from a Forties book by Joan M. Davies. Chalayan reimagined the character in Cuba, picturing it swimming in the sea, or studying a book of statistics.

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