Last week Marais, one of Melbourne’s premiere purveyors of high-end street wear, launched a collaborative collection between sportswear label Puma and Hussein Chalayan. The UK-based Turkish designer is most famous for his avant-garde shows and mergence of technology and clothing. His 2007 collection of animatronic dresses were rigged with mini machines and magically zipped, flipped and transformed automatically into different shapes.
Chalayan may have gained notoriety for his forward-thinking approach, but he is also very much an egalitarian, having created many street-friendly diffusion and ready-to-wear lines. And while his Urban Mobility collection with Puma comes with less bells and whistles, but Chalayan’s vision is by no means diluted.
As with his previous diffusion lines, Chalayan’s pieces are easy to wear and practical enough to get a lot of wears out of them, but with an added twist. Asymmetrical yet structured silhouettes are combined with sporty details in line with the Puma aesthetic, such as mesh panels, elastic drawstrings, lightweight nylon and Tyvek, a papery synthetic material that brings a whole new texture to a light spring jacket. Although a spring/summer range, timed for the northern hemisphere’s warmer months, the light and airy pieces make the range prime layering material, perfect for the comparably mild Australian winters.
The current collection, includes a lot more colour than previous Chalayan and Puma collaborations. Inspiration from the traditional Japanese art of Kabuki added reds, vibrant purples and rust-like colours, giving an extra punch to the dynamic collection. The range of footwear also added a somewhat Asian touch, with open-toed platforms and chunky leather-strapped sandals.
Chalayan’s Urban Mobility collection is definitely in the lower end of the price range for something by a world famous high-end designer, and a glaring advantage of sportswear collaborations like this is the chance to exploit the rare occasion when sportswear is actually acceptable to wear outside of the gym. Sporty collaborations like Chalayan’s and the recent the collaboration between Nike and Japanese label Undercover Gyakusou, erase some of the need to compartmentalise our wardrobes into comfortable, everyday clothes and the more ‘precious’, fashion-centric pieces. Chalayan and Puma balance style with practicality and comfort.