Bleached linen khaki was deconstructed into military tailored dresses, whilst tobacco smoked its way into the colour palette. At the centre of the runway stood a laboratory cube, of sorts - which inside contained two models wearing white utilitarian prototypes.
Hussein Chalayan named this collection "PASATEMPO". Inspired by Cuba, and its final days of independence - in soon becoming part of the United States - Chalayan set out to capture the authenticity of the island's culture. Cultural homogenisation is spreading like wildfire throughout our globe. Chalayan's collection was a nostalgic farewell to real nostalgia – not the marketed kind.
The military elements in the collection were a nod to Cubas’s past: the socialist regime of the 1950s and Spanish colonial rule, whilst sequin clicked devoré prints of dancing couples glided across dresses. Pleating fell from the shoulder, and reminded one of Chalayan’s influence and connection with the house of Vionnet. Hip panels trailed along the floor, and rows of black fringing offered a sensual tactility, which spoke of this Caribbean island’s relationship with Latino culture. Cuba’s famous cigar industry was represented via prints that showed cigars in their various stages of preparation.
We thought the show was over, but then the lab became activated. These girls weren’t just design prototypes, they were also there to represent the many female officials who stand guarding various places dotted throughout Cuba. Water fell from the ceiling of the white box, within which the two models stood. Within seconds the paper started to dissolve, and a metamorphosis occured. Underneath the paper, appeared a second skin. Printed with dancing palm trees and embellished with Swarovksi crystals, the dresses which emerged became headliners within the collection. They stepped out of the box, and walked the runway.That's the thing with nostalgia, it can sometimes hide the past. Today, Chalayan attempted to remove the gloss of a postcard, from our memories, and make a place quietly come alive.