Hussein Chalayan was inspired by summer living this season, specifically that changing state between dress and undress required of beach and poolside lounging. "It's that situation of getting ready to get into the water, when you don't quite take your clothes off," the designer explained post-show.
So we had striped, strapless column dresses like those Velcro edged towels used to protect a swimmer's modesty. There were also pretty printed dresses layered with lightweight summer jackets. In Chalayan's now signature transformative fashion, when the jackets were shrugged off they cascaded to become integrated into the dress, now complete with a bustle load of hidden fabric. Call it two for one. Continuing the theme, deep thigh slits and sheer fabrics at once clothed and unclothed Chalayan's summer belles. Knee length shorts split high on one leg only were particularly successful.
The designer was also inspired by beach umbrellas with their bright, sunny colours. Models carried transparent hats on a stilt shading themselves brolly-like from the camera flashes. The show's closing dresses came complete with strips of coloured plasticised fabric which were interwoven to appear like a beach parasol. The resultant shimmering, vivid hued surfaces were editorial catnip and offered the promise of holiday fun in the sun.
There was also plenty to keep the buyers happy. Chalayan explained this show offered, "a complete wardrobe of day, late day and eveningwear." His signature moulded and folded shapes were seen in corsets, trousers and short sleeve tops while there were plenty of easy to wear jackets and separates on show. A selection of silk draped tops matched with long skirts looked elegant but directional, while the gowns were just the thing for an actress looking to stand out for the right reasons on the red carpet. Conceptual but resolutely wearable- a balance well struck.