‘She’s not a groupie. She’s in the band,’ corrected Christopher Kane before yesterday’s show, as he looked out on to the specially laid lilac carpet that covered almost an entire floor of a glass and steel high rise in the city. ‘Yeah, she’s a gangly girl, effortless. Sexy without even knowing it.’
And so she was. She was also a lot tougher with Kane allowing the subversiveness that runs deep through all his collections to bubble to the surface here.
Opening with black leathers and pinstripes – a twisted take on his big City backdrop? He then moved into deep purple and red moire, a sheeny marble effect fabric, which he used because of a Joseph Szabo photograph that had stirred his imagination, of a girl in a moire dress.
Kane always starts with fabric – he takes it and shakes it, brilliantly manipulates it, until he’s got what he wants out of it. This time it was a three dimensional effect he was after, hence all those puffed up straps and tie belts that added a bounce to dresses and coats or the velvet flocked blooms on skirts, or the cardigan made of woven plastic.
What I love about Kane’s wardrobe of clothes – because that’s how I envisage them, not as collections – is how he will place a tough-girl leather dress cut to expose her ribs alongside a louche pair of lipstick red trousers and a cosy poloneck, or a heavily embellished skirt next to a slick pinstripe – each look has a strong character, but collectively it works. The creative and commercial is always a beautiful balance. But it means that you never know what’s coming next.
Of his generation, only Kane has the confidence to rip up everything he did last season and start with something new the next. If only he could somehow bottle that energy and anticipation that is felt by his audience waiting for his show - we could call it L’eau de Kane.