Hussein Chalayan

A retrospective of the first ten years’ work of the British/ Cypriot fashion designer

17 April 2005 to 04 September 2005

The Groningen Museum will display the first large-scale solo exhibition of the work of the British based Turkish Cypriot fashion designer Hussein Chalayan (Nicosia, 1970). The presentation consists of outfits, installations, and photographic and video work from the last 10 years. Important works that will be shown include Afterwords (autumn/winter 2000), Ambimorphous (autumn/winter 2002-2003), the video works Tribe Art Commission2/ hussein chalayan / place to passage (2004), and his latest video work Anaestetics (2004). In conjunction with NAi Publishers, the first monograph on the work of Hussein Chalayan will be issued to accompany the exhibition, celebrating his tenth anniversary as a professional designer.

Chalayan belongs to the most innovative, experimental and conceptual fashion designers of the present day. With inspiration coming from various and assorted disciplines such as architecture, philosophy and anthropology, his oeuvre can be located at the interface between fashion and art. His themes often have a socio-cultural streak relating back to Chalayan’s personal history as someone who owes his identity to different cultures.

In 1993, Hussein Chalayan graduated from Central St Martins College of Art and Design in London with an eye-catching presentation for which he had first buried the garments. His use of innovative, unusual materials and unorthodox techniques, in combination with the conceptual wealth of his presentations, won him the title of Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards of 1999 and 2000. From 2001 onward, he has held his shows during the Prêt à Porter fashion weeks in Paris. He launched his first menswear collection in 2002, and since then he has participated in countless exhibitions worldwide, including Radical Fashion in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Fashion in the Kyoto Costume Institute in Japan, Airmail Clothing in Musée de la Mode Palais du Louvre in Paris, and the Biennale in Istanbul. In 2001/2002 he was Artist in Residence at the Wexner Center (State University of Ohio). In April 2004 Chalayan opened his first flagship store in Tokyo, which submerges customers in the Mediterranean atmosphere of Northern Cyprus.

In the exhibition, which will be held on two floors of the Museum, the much-discussed collection Afterwords (AW 2000-2001) will be shown. This collection refers to the reality of the refugee. In this, the upholstery is transformed into dresses, the chairs into suitcases, and the coffee table unfolds to become a skirt. Ambimorphous (AW 2002-2003), a project that covers cultural change, can be seen in the (fashion) show as a kind of journey from one culture to another, both geographically and temporally. The presentation begins with a model dressed in a completely ‘ethnic’ costume, and this is followed by models who gradually change clothes, piece by piece, ending with a modernist black outfit. A collection of photos has been made of these different outfits by Marcus Tomlinson, a video artist with whom Chalayan has often worked. Recent creations – the video work Tribe Art Commission2/ hussein chalayan / place to passage (2004), whose theme covers a(n) (internal) journey from London to Istanbul, and his latest work Anaesthetics (2004) – will also be on show in this first large-scale solo exhibition.

Tribe Art
The video installation Tribe Art Commission²/ hussein chalayan / place to passage is the second project in the series of international art projects sponsored by the Lucky Strike B·A·R Honda Formula One racing team.

The first monograph on Hussein Chalayan’s work has been published in conjunction with NAI Publishers Rotterdam. The authors are: Caroline Evans, Suzy Menkes, Bradley Quinn, and Ted Polhemus. The book was edited by Barbera van Kooij and Sue-an van der Zijpp and costs € 29.50. Dutch edition, ISBN 90-5662-426-1 and English edition € 35,- , ISBN 90-5662-443-1. Buy it here.

Sponsor Turquality
The Turquality project has been created for the successful Turkish brands to promote their quality image in international markets. Turquality has the notion of being a support program that provides financial and managerial contribution to value added Turkish products, to provide them competitive edge against internal and external competition.

  • Hussein Chalayan, Afterwords: Autumn/winter 2000–2001. Photo: Chris Moore