Hussein Chalayan‘s show may not be the biggest or most star-studded Paris Fashion Week event, but it is usually one of the coolest. This season, the Cypriot-British designer took a concept he’s explored before — high-tech dresses that transform on the body — and translated it into wearable, commercially viable pieces.
On Friday, Chalayan’s fall 2013 show began simply enough, with sculpted jackets, generously cuffed denim, and futuristic prints, but the easy appearance of the final series of dresses belied their true complexity. The models walked out in subtle silk frocks, then pulled them at the collar and — boom! — the fabric unraveled to reveal another look entirely.
The designer has been experimenting with this kind of on-the-runway transformation for over a decade. For fall 2000, he staged a presentation for his “Afterwords” collection that involved models interacting with a set of furniture: pulling up chair upholstery that was in fact sheath dresses, and stepping into a round coffee table that was hoisted up into a skirt. For spring 2007, he sent out dresses with electronic underpinnings that morphed on stage as the models stood in place, a feat of technological wizardry that left his audience with mouths agape. The only problem? These definitely were not the kind of pieces that would ever be produced for sale.
But not so with this season’s offerings, if we’re lucky! Just think of all of the wardrobe space that could be saved if all of your belongings could do this kind of double duty.
Watch this season’s show, plus some of his past, tech-y presentations, in the video playlist below:
[GIF via @erlsn]