Divided into 8 chapters, each phase of the show presents a narrative about an aspect of wide-reaching Germanic influence. Chapters Landscape, Weight, Reconstruction, Economic Success, Yourself Culture and Loss of Self all feature Swarovski Crystals. The first, Landscape, simulates the experience of driving on the infamous autobahn highway, where the road signs are Swarovski crystallized fairy-tale words taken from German folk tales. The destination is an internal one – within the cultural mind of Germany, fables have played a role in both sharing and shaping the social landscape of Germany and the world at large. The line between indoors and outdoors is blurred with textural jacquard woven pieces set against a backdrop of Germanic forests—lush, bratty and tangled.
Weight is a full-frontal exposure of the chains from Germany’s shaded past —the events of the country’s history are represented as dark talisman-like weights of Swarovski crystal as accessories on the pieces. Weighing down the gowns with a subtle, but definite tug, the Chapter signifies the near-hypnotic state of a country in the grips of its own misshapen shadow.
In the daylight after Germany’s dark night, arrives Reconstruction. Swarovski crystal-embedded chains draped across skeletal pieces speak to new foundations, and the scaffolding of a country now alive with activity. From the first foundations emerges Economic Success. Driven to near frenzy by exponential growth, this chapter references a car’s odometer to represent Germany’s post-war boom, again traveling down the autobahn highway and into the future.
Home craft brought people back to their handicraft heritage with Yourself Culture. When the craze for the iconic Burda Magazines hit Germany, it was a DIY haze of old métiers coming back into popularity.
With an overblown attention to egoic pursuits and an obsession with reason and logic, the stifling of the intuitive is addressed in Loss of Self, with pieces that pay homage to the outlet of the famous Berlin night club scene, speaking to a repressed hedonism and a powerful lack of fulfillment.
Hussein Chalayan’s longstanding collaboration with Swarovski include collections with a number of show-stopping pieces including the LED Dress3 (Autumn/Winter 2007) featuring 15,600 LEDs and Swarovski crystal, the extraordinary Laser Dress (Spring/Summer 2008), and Kaikoku, a floating dress that released 50 crystal ‘pollen spores’ (Autumn/Winter 2011). This year’s presentation was an ingenious crystallized exploration of the shockwaves sent out into the Western world by some of the highest highs and lowest lows of Germanic culture. It was a culmination of the previous collections of Chalayan, and a further testament to the power of fashion to enact, and comment, upon change.