LONDON–Possibly the only thing more death-defying than the leap from model to actress is the rarely attempted feat of fashion designer-turned-artist. But for two time “British Designer of the Year” and creative director of PUMA, Hussein Chalayan, these acrobatics are child’s play.
The Cypriot-born, London-raised designer first came to fashion by way of architecture, not surprising for those familiar with the tremendous technical construction and futuristic materials he is best known for.
Think airplane wings, folding table, foam molded car crashes and yes, I am talking about dresses.
Chalayan’s firs solo art exhibit entitled “I am Sad Leyla” is currently showing at London’s Lisson Gallery through October 8. (Definitely stop by in if you’re in town for London Fashion Week.)
Central to the works is “I am Sad Leyla” a classical Arabic song about star-crossed lovers, performed by Turkish songstress Sertab Erener, known for her own two-step between opera and pop. Video of the stunning Chalayan-clad singer played in the basement while above, her melancholy voice filled one white-walled room while video of her visage was projected onto a life-size likeness of herself.
Pivoting once again around issues of cultural identity and displacement, the highly conceptual designer opened a tandem exhibition at London’s Spring Projects Sept. 17. As for the big leap? From the looks of the art crowd, seems Chalayan has landed safely on the other side.