Hussein Chalayan - Behind the Burqa

1998 - The "In Between" Collection, representing Islamic women in an angelic manner

Season after season, powerful messages are injected into the collections with extremity or subtlety by the '90s super designer, Hussein Chalayan. Last year, he opted to show thriftiness by showing dresses made with fake nails and perspex hat parasols. For Spring/Summer 2015, it is no different, and this time he is seeking to continue his subliminal message of Islamic acceptance. 

Being Turkish, he knows full well about how Islam is perceived in the Western world, and to complement his controversial 1996 and 1998 collections, his move is timed quite well to poke at the recent instability in communities caused by the coverage of Isis. Collection aside, Chalayan's collection was topped off with a trio of elegant gowns with a Burqa-clad woman panelled at the front. Although the message is not as in-your-face as in 1996, which leaned more towards representing Islamic women as sexual beings, this trio of gowns may further the harmony and integration between the Islamic and non-Islamic peoples, even if they are "just dresses".

1996 - Chalayan's controversial looks which played on sexual freedom and modest Islamic principles

In a time when the traditional Islamic garment has been wiped of its beauty due to the ignorance, fear and stereotyping of close-minded non-Islamics, I applaud Chalayan for somehow contributing to a change of perception.

Images: Deborah Counsell, New York Magazine and Paris-Paris

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