BTS: Christopher Kane

March 17th, 20179:00 am @

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letter_Each season we see new collections come down the runway, and we’re blessed with fashion inspo and ideas for the coming year. Some looks and trends seem like pure genius, while we seriously question who would ever wear others. Either way, every look and every collection has an idea and a message behind it.

Designers have so much creative freedom in deciding what that message is. It is important for them to be innovative, while still maintaining a signature aspect that allows us to identify them and their brand. The creative process is a taxing one, and it is difficult to constantly have to bring something new to the table. So where do all of these designers get their ideas?

One designer I’d like to focus on is Christopher Kane, in celebration of his so-called “comeback.” After taking a break due to family tragedy, he’s back on the scene and his Autumn/Winter 2017 has brought a lot of attention from fashion critics and the like. So what’s behind this renewed creative energy?

Just to get an idea of what he’s brought to us, here are a couple of key looks:

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Initial feelings: Like granny took a trip back in time to the 70s and then to outer space. Don’t know if that makes any sense, but then again neither does his mixture of materials and silhouettes. The collection is an eclectic concoction of metallics, florals, uniquely-placed folds, pleats and fur.

Tim Blanks from the Business of Fashion claims that Kane was inspired by the industrial processes that go into making luxury material. For this reason, we can see the way that Kane deconstructs and reconstructs traditionally opulent fabrics. For example, his folding of the damask (look 1), and the cashmere that he layered foil on top of to make an oil-slick cardigan (look 2).

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Ionel Talpazan, “Future UFOs Diverse Diagrame: 22 Modele Advanced Exstra Terestriale Technology for Planeta Earth,” 2000

Women’s Wear Daily’s Nina Jones interpreted it a bit differently. She claimed that Kane was inclined to create a type of uniform that a factory worker might wear, rather than being inspired by the factory processes themselves. Either way, we see stiff, sharp edges and angles that serve to create a contrast between feminine fabrics and historic prints and tough, futuristic silhouettes.

Kane was also heavily influenced by artist Ionel Talpazan, and this can be seen in his silk smock dresses. Talpazan is known for his colorful, sci-fi paintings, and Kane uses his work in his prints.

Also worth pointing out is his obsession with Crocs. Can we talk about this for a second? His last collection featured these:

06-christopher-kane-crocs.w710.h473This new collection now adds fur trim rather than rhinestones (see looks 3 and 4). His attempt to make them a luxury shoe is admirable. I think adding fur and jewels is an interesting take, but in the end, they are still Crocs. Although I don’t think it’s the prettiest trend, it does demonstrate Kane’s fascination with combining utility and luxury.

Overall, Christopher Kane works against the fashion grain, and pushes the boundaries with his daring combinations. He does not play it safe, and he does not care about getting rave reviews. He simply combines imagination and the technical aspects of design to deliver a thrilling and unexpected show.

Images courtesy of Business of Fashion, Artforum, New York Magazine and The West Effect.