Christopher Kane dedicated his spring collection to his late professor, mentor and friend, Louise Wilson OBE. He recently discovered a box of photos that date back to his time on the MA course at Saint Martins. It was a whole load of snapshots of his sister, Tammy trying on his early designs, those that he created out of his bedroom.
Kane said he is where he is today because of that MA course, and because of Wilson.
This is a designer who has no shortage of ideas, they all buzz around his head like a twinkling constellation before he whittles them down to a condensed seed of genius. This season he went right back to those early ideas and to those pieces that were never shown or developed. His starting point was cord, rope and coils, which he embroidered onto dresses or threaded through hemlines and cuffs as drawstring details on terrifically modern silk skirt suits.
The collection developed into a series of silk dresses that erupted here and there with flutes of tulle, he called them “controlled explosion dresses.” Then came those boasting tumbling panels of silk georgette, which were anchored down into place with shiny silver bars, while others had exposed boning and stemmed from Kane’s original drawings that went back to his college days.
The palette was explained as ‘back to school,’ inspired by the Bordeaux of the designer’s school uniform and it did feel wintery, and more than a little subdued – yes, in part to his tribute to Wilson, but also Christopher Kane has, in recent seasons rewired his brain towards a more commercial leaning. With his flagship store set to open on Mount Street early next year, he’s right to think about what he’s going to fill it with. This will be the collection that he will open those shop doors with.
Many of the things that Kane showed here this afternoon are born of ideas he had originally discarded, or simply ideas that he didn’t have the time or inclination back then to further explore. One can’t help but wonder about what else he has lurking in hidden boxes, on the pages of old sketch books; at the back of that wonderful, creative mind.