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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

Chalayan: A Moorish Story

Paris Fashion Week Day Three

27 Сентября 2014

The set of the Chalayan show was a Moorish trellis that first reflected on the floor then was later found on dress patterns.

The finale was an elegantly patterned dress with an illustration of a woman in a grey burka with her eyes peering out.
But no, said a puzzled Hussein Chalayan backstage, there was no link between this and his seminal collection of 16 years ago, when the models appeared in simple black cloth and in various states of undress, but for a covered head. That collection has gone down in fashion history and is now, in the light of attitudes that have developed in Arab states, seen as discomfortingly clairvoyant.
So you have to believe Chalayan when he denies any connection with this previous collection. His face blanked and he said that the inspiration for this season was the relationship between Spain and the Maghreb.

There were hints of North Africa in prints and embroideries of orange trees, or the patterns found in Moorish architecture on both sides of the Mediterranean.
Apart from one dress unrolling to create a longer skirt, this was Chalayan light: black outfits to start offered glimpses of leg through the split side of a long skirt, and there were many light, pretty dresses with portrait necklines and sun hats in filmy fabrics.

These often expressed the nobility of Spanish women and there was the shadow of Morocco in the trellis prints.
So all this was just a light and airy summer collection. Yet Chalayan named it ‘Moorish Gaze’. And there was something faintly unsettling about that title.

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