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HUSSEIN CHALAYAN was born in Nicosia, Cyprus and was graduated in 1993 from London’s Central St. Martins School of Art and Design. His degree collection was bought by British iconic boutique Browns, launching him as a significant new fashion force. In 1994 Chalayan started his own label. He was named British Designer of the Year in 1999 and in 2000.
In 2002, Chalayan moved his internationally lauded fashion show from London to Paris, where the Chalayan collection is shown seasonally. The Chalayan collections are known for innovative design, beautiful tailoring and draping, and an elegant minimalist aesthetic. The ready-to-wear collection is regularly featured in top fashion magazines and international press as well as carried in the world’s best boutiques and is favored by actresses, musicians, artists, and tastemakers on and off the stage and red carpet.
In his art and fashion work Chalayan uses film, installations, and sculptural forms to explore perception and the realities of modern life, with particular interest in cultural identity, migration, anthropology, technology, nature, and genetics. Chalayan lectures regularly about his work and has exhibited in museums worldwide, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Kyoto Costume Institute, the Musée de la Mode-Palais du Louvre in Paris, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MOMA in New York.
He has directed several short films since 2003. Chalayan represented Turkey in the 2005 Venice Biennale with his film Absent Presence. In 2005, the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands hosted a retrospective of his work. In 2010 Chalayan opened two exhibitions in London at the Lisson Gallery and Spring Projects. Critically acclaimed solo exhibitions opened in London at the Design Museum (2009), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo (2010), Istanbul Modern (2010), and most recently at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (2011).
Throughout the years Chalayan has partnered with artists, musicians, actors, and members of the design, art, theater, and fashion fields, including Tilda Swinton, Nick Knight, and Antony Hegarty from Antony and the Johnsons, as well Scottish dancer/choreographer Michael Clark for the 1998 production current/SEE. In 2010 he also designed costumes for the London Dance Theatre Saddlers Wells Production of In the Spirit of Diaghilev and in the same year designed the costumes for the opera Passion by Pascal Dusapin, choreographed by Sacha Waltz. He has collaborated with Swarovski on a number of projects, including creating a range of motion dresses for the Spring/Summer ’07 Chalayan collection. His installation piece for Swarovski titled Repose was exhibited at the Kunsthalle Mannheim gallery and at the Crystal Palace, Milan.
In 2006 Hussein Chalayan was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honors list. In February 2008 he was appointed Creative Director of Puma. In 2011 Rizzoli published the first complete monograph on his work, entitled Hussein Chalayan. 2011 also saw the launch of the first Chalayan fragrance, Airborne, produced by Comme des Garçons perfumes. At the beginning of 2014 Chalayan was appointed to be the designer of the Demi Couture Collection of the House of Vionnet.
In 2012 Chalayan was named one of 100 all-time fashion icons by Time.