London Fashion Week – Spring 2020
When it comes to Chalayan‘s fashion, there’s a subtle yet incisive conceptual and materic manipulation in his fashion that earned him the reputation of being an intellectualized and abstract fashion designer. For Spring 2020, the Cypriot designer’s collection becomes interpreter of a history drama that nowadays seems forgotten. He represents the Postcolonial Body, the result of colonialism’s effects upon the vestmentary habits of native ethnicities – those of South America and Japan specifically. It’s an anthropologic study through fashion, analysing the social and cultural changes that are inevitably generated when a community is colonized by another nation.
The structure of the clothing is variable, throughout a sequence of cuts, unforeseen constructions and blocks of colours gradually expanding and melting into each other. Draped fabrics look like wrapping around the model’s body, mimicking dance and movement, while the origami and pleating details realized with rigid fabrics made the Japanese references clearer. In this process, Chalayan lets the instinct prevail over the reason, fusing the semantic fields together in the same way as colonialism did with local cultures.
Safari outfits, neck-fastened hats and gladiator sandals evoke the colonial landscapes, while all the masterfully elaborated constructions on the bodice convey an idea of sudden alteration of the status quo. The walking sticks are a concrete representation of colonialism, as they’re both a restraint and a support all at the same time.
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