Ten years isn't a huge amount of time in the grand scheme of life. But fashion operates at a speed closer to dog years. At lot happens, quickly. When Christopher Kane first started his label ten years ago, long before See Now Buy Now was a twinkle in Burberry's eye, 'social media was not around,' he explained in June as he put the finishing touches on a capsule collection dedicated to his 10th anniversary.
'There was no Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat,' he said. 'But everything is now in real time, whereas ten years ago there was still the anticipation and mystery of a show and the build-up of product going into shops. I miss that mystery a little bit. But at the same time, I love to see what's going on around me with Instagram.'
Yesterday, his collection, which he called 'Make Do And Mend,' featured that same mixture of nostalgia for the past and excitement about the now. His starting point was World II and 'the figure of the evacuee and the idea of abandonment' but the theme also seemed to be a fairly poignant read of our times, as world headlines address Britain's post-Brexit mending of morale, political divisions and budgets.
On the runway, the concept of mending was less conceptual, more literal with dresses pieced together with disparate fabrics (lurex collaged with sheer nylon and metallic pleating, for example) and quirky trimmings (stringy yarn, craftsy florals and silk swatches.) Throughout it all, archival moments surfaced in the clothes. For example, the images on those silk swatches were actually tear sheets from Kane's previous collections.
All of this conceptual to'ing and fro'ing across time made for a strangely wonderful, weird collection. This was the crazy, eccentric lady he introduced for aw16 taken to bolder, more sophisticated levels. In a way, this was Christopher Kane at peak Christopher Kane.
But the loudest statement came not from the clothes, but the shoes on the models' feet: Crocs, bedazzled in mineral stones...and worn with pantyhose. They were ugly and mesmering. So wrong, they're right. And they were all anyone talked about post-show. Sure, social media may not have been around when he launched his own business as a Central Saint Martins grad in 2006, but he's certainly got the hang of it now.