Sadler’s Wells Theatre: fashion and dance events London 2015
Sadler’s Wells is accustomed to an audience of trendy young things, keeping their fingers on the pulse of contemporary dance. But the influx of geometrically-dressed fashionistas and slick design enthusiasts in the audience for Gravity Fatigue were a mark of different expectations. These devotees of structure, fabric architecture and statement apparel got everything they desired from the innovative designer Hussien Chalayan.
In a series of vignettes, the designer tests the limits of both fabric and its significance with wit and real originality. ‘Elastic Bodies’ stretches single, sliced pieces of fabric between two bodies across the stage in weird, taught shapes. ‘Body Split’ cuts three dancers into a board-like top half and saucy, swishing skirts underneath. They are joined by more dancers in heavy black coats, until the whole group transform into spangled whirling dervishes against an aeroplane backdrop, in one flick of their costumes.
If there is plenty of pretension, there’s joy too. Chalayan finds room to gleefully mock the fashion industry in ‘Nude Catwalk,’ sending models dressed in white sheets and impossible heels on a pointless catwalk to the over-zealous analysis of an ‘expert’ voiceover. Another scene launches figures in baggy sweaters and two in niqab wheeling and sliding over rubber balls, completely uninhibited by their loose fabrics.
The production and design are impeccable, the pace perfect and the music, from ‘sound illustrators’ MODE-F, pulses ecstatically throughout. The dance, from thoughtful choreographer Damien Jalet, is an articulate vehicle for the clothing, although some might have been disappointed by such limited space for the imaginative Jalet.
Taken as a glorified fashion show, Gravity Fatigue is a spectacular event, full of its own cleverness and real pioneering design.
As anything else, its vivid images vanish from memory rather quickly, and there’s little below the surface to justify any deeper attention.
Hussein Chalayan 2015 at Sadler’s Wells
Famous as the man behind innovative wearable furniture, including the table dress, Hussein Chalayan is perhaps best known for his winning combination of story-telling through clothes and incredible dramatic effects; the kind that gave the world the ‘transformer dress’ leaving models naked on stage and the futuristic womb in which Lady Gaga arrived at the 2011 Grammys. Chalayan was named British Designer of the Year in 1999 and 2000. He has regularly had his work shown in major galleries including the Musée Des Arts Décoratifs, the Louvre, London Design Museum and National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo - a testament to the artistic nature of his designs.
Damien Jalet choreographer: Sadler’s Wells 2015
Working alongside Hussein Chalayan is French/Belgian choreographer and performer Damien Jalet, who has crafted a name for himself as a dance-maker in dialogue with other art forms. Jalet has famously collaborated with high profile artists including sculptors Jim Hodges, Antony Gormely, and Nawa Kohei, as well as designer Bernhard Willhelm and Florence and the Machine. He co-choreographed Babel (words) alongside his ex-partner and celebrated choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, which won two Olivier awards in 2011.
|Gravity Fatigue: Hussein Chalayan, Sadler's Wells
|Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN | MAP
28 Oct 15 – 31 Oct 15, Pre-show Directors Conversation Thursday 6-6.45pm £4
|£12 - £38
|Click here for more information and to book...