Fashion: When fashion meets art meets aerodynamics

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The Independent Culture
IF YOU fancy a spot of fashion edification, look no further than London's East End. From today until 10 August, the photographer Marcus Tomlinson and the British Designer of the Year, Hussein Chalayan, present their collaborative exhibition, Echoform, at that mecca of cool, the New Atlantis Gallery.

Photography meets fashion meets art in this exhibition-cum-installation based on Chalayan's autumn/ winter 1999 collection. In the bare, whitewashed space, a film on a loop shows the designer's latest, breathtaking creation: an articulated plastic "aeroplane dress" which, at the flick of a switch, spreads its wings as if coming in to land. Beamed on to wall screens are three computer "flick books", one of which reveals six "sequentially designed" dresses whose seams appear to open and close. And in a box-shaped room, an installation of Tomlinson's giant 10ft x 6ft photographic prints reveals five stages in the tailoring of a jacket. The effect is also mirrored by the "growth" of the model's fringe.

"There are very few plain photographs," says Tomlinson. "We wanted to experiment with 3D images, film and animation - as many media as possible."

Chalayan and Tomlinson first worked together on Visionaire, the cult fashion bible that hands its pages over to designers to do with as they will. The two came up with a mille-feuilles of tracing-paper pages shaped like a dress, which, as you turned them over, eventually revealed a naked model.

"Marcus is one of the few photographers who captures the clothes and does justice to the ideas of the designer," says Chalayan.

This particular collaboration first came about when the designer was invited to exhibit at the Fast Forward show in Vienna.

Parts of the show have since been seen at the Festival des Jeunes Createurs in Hyeres, in the South of France, and subsequently at the Anchorage in Brooklyn, New York. But this is the first opportunity to see the exhibition in its totality.

Rebecca Lowthorpe

New Atlantis Gallery, 146 Brick Lane, London E1 (0171-377 1234)