Hussein Chalayan is best known for his awe-inspiring, seemingly impossible designs. Creations like a table that transforms into a dress, a mechanical dress that expands, contracts, and changes pattern and, most recently, outfits that dissolve in water have cemented him as an innovative tastemaker. But the virtuoso is bringing his talents beyond the runway with a new venture – creating the costumes for his very own dance performance.
Titled Gravity Fatigue, the show is presented in 18 different segments, each of which delves into a specific theme. Chalayan is no stranger to the thematic – each of his runway shows is usually based on a theme or an idea, and his art projects, like “Compassion Fatigue”, have also explored the lands of a certain subject. In collaboration with choreographer Damien Jalet, Gravity Fatigue seeks to peel back the skin on concepts of identity in a revealing, emotional display. Chalayan brought Jalet clothing, and the pair developed the performance around the apparel as well as the idea Chalayan wanted to communicate.
The costumes are of course an integral part of the performance. Echoes of Chalayan’s classic pieces can be identified in segments like Elastic Bodies, which is reminiscent of his work in 1998, or Delayed Presence, which features work inspired by his Airmail dress of 1999. Other outfits were less obvious in reference, but still stayed true to Chalayan’s aesthetic and archival work. The clothing was meant to complement the dancers movements as well as emphasize the body as the performance moved on.
In a most fitting side note, Gravity Fatigue is being presented at Sadler’s Wells – the very same location where Chalayan debuted his “table dress” as part of his 2000 show After Words. The performance can be seen until October 31, 2015.