— October 13, 2015 —
The central theme of Cuba continues to influence the Spring/Summer 2016 collection of Chalayan through unique interpretations, which are reflected in the cut of the garments and fabric developments.
As Cuba’s doors are about to open to the US, it is possibly the last chance to capture the authenticity of the island where there is a strong interplay between the past and present. From its indigenous roots to Spanish Colonialism, this Caribbean Island has incurred the slave trade and emerged cradled in a socialist regime as a result of the revolution in the 1950s.
Summer tailoring, drapery and military inspired dresses and skirts feature throughout the collection together with Chalayan’s signature fabric manipulations, which are reflected in evening gowns.
Key fabrics include crisp cotton poplin and soft cotton in olive, tobacco and black. Also prevalent in the collection is crepe de chine alongside stretch crepe in poppy, lime, black, fresh mint and a light jacquard. Presence of music in Cuban life is depicted through graphic prints of dancing couples as devoree prints as well as embellished with Swarovski crystals strips over the dancing figures emphasizing their movement. Cuba’s famous cigar industry, is shown in the various steps of preparation as textbook illustrations. Statistics showing data before and after the revolution are printed on pleated voiles with jacquard foliage. A devoree version of the statistics is further enriched by Swarovski jet stones, highlighting certain parts of the data deeming them more precious and jewel like.
The "Plonk", an illustrated character, originally created by Joan M Davies in the 1940’s was used as an inspiration to portray various scenarios in Cuba, whilst also capturing all the developments taking place after the revolution. This can be seen as an all over or at times as a single placement print or as knitwear.
Guards inspired by the presence of female officials protecting various places in Cuba are used as a symbol to represent the passing of time.
The female guards in an imagined Cuban uniform wait inconspicuously until the end of the show. Finally they are sprayed by a shower of water which melt their uniform to reveal a 3D fabric with dancing palm trees charmingly embroidered over a jacquard complete with Crystal Swarovski coconuts in their stems. The melting uniforms also possess crystal strips in the inner structure of the garments which are unveiled when the rest of the garment is washed off by the water, creating a cradle for the newly visible dancing palm trees.
Always innovating, Hussein Chalayan.