For the 64th edition of Pitti Immagine Uomo, Hussein Chalayan showed his first men’s collection, developed in collaboration with Pitti Immagine. The designer decided to mark his debut in menswear presenting Temporal Meditation, the first movie he wrote and directed.
The movie premiered on 19th June 2003 at Teatro della Pergola in Florence. It was shot in Athens, and saw as protagonists the photographer Mark Segal and Sophie Hill, a Greek actress. Even though it was the first time that Chalayan presented himself as film director, he was not new to experimentations that could combine fashion and art. He was well known for blending art and fashion in his own practice, working both within the fashion system and in art galleries.
The movie is 20-minute long; the action takes place in an airport, a liminal non-place where the boundaries between different countries seems to be negates, and time suspended. the narrative is constructed by many themes: identity, memory, time. Chalayan used genetic anthropology to draw the ethnic paths that crossed Cyprus, his homeland, within space and time. This interest in human geography and migration is very dear to the designer, who constantly refers back to the idea of ‘homeland’ as constant reference characterising his fashion and artistic production.
The press release of the event states: “Historical discourse has exemplified a view of time as sequential and progressive which has been embalmed through the use of the printed word. Garments can be viewed as an archaeological talisman which morphs slivers of past and present, ultimately and perhaps paradoxically becoming a frozen fragment of its own archaeological quest”.
The movie proposes to consider clothes as symbols holding together different chronological dimensions; In their being material memories of an undefined past that still bear sign of the present, they become traces that have to be rediscovered through quasi-archaeological techniques in order to reveal their meaning. This way, clothes have the power to negate the linearity of the time of history proposing instead a chronology dictated by feelings, memories and emotions.