Ever wondered how to pronounce his name? Let's give it a try: who-sane sha-lion. If you don't know the Cyprus born British/Turkish designer already, you should. Chalayan has been a powerful force in the fashion industry since he graduated from Central Saint Martins in 1993. Chalayan's graduate collection, "The Tangent Flows" was picked up by British Boutique Browns, which has also started the careers of Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Comme des Garçons. "The Tangent Flows," a collection of silk dresses that he has buried underground and then dug back up, rocked the world of design. Chalayan launched his namesake line within the year and he hasn't looked back, until now.
The 40 year old designer recently revealed to Vogue one of his biggest regrets: although he interviewed with Tom Ford in 2001, the American designer decided to work with Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney instead. Chalayan explained, "I was devastated. Tom doesn't even know that. He told me I was too avant-garde. I thought 'Tom you are so wrong.'"
Tom was wrong (there is a first for everything). While Chalayan has been known for his avant-garde designs (including Lady Gaga's egg dress) he has also collaborated with Swarovski, celebrity denim favorite J Brand and Puma, where he serves as the brands creative director. In the past, he has designed costumes for dance and opera as well as a collection of chairs and tables. If you already thought he was a Renaissance man, get this: Chalayan's interests include architecture, cultural theory (who doesn't read a litte Jean Baudrillard to relax?) and science. While all of this is present in Chalayan's successful designs, he claims, "I like to design simple things that are not basic."
Currently, Chalayan is launching a diffusion line and re-branding himself under the simple name Chalayan. This means it is time to learn how to pronounce his name, even it Tom Ford doesn't think so.