Christopher Kane isn’t your average fashion designer. After winning the L’Oréal Colour Award and the Harrods Design Award for his graduate show at Central Saint Martins in 2006, Donatella Versace plucked him to work on her couture collection, while also making him a consultant for Versace’s accessories and shoes collections. By 2009 he was crowned Creative Director of Versace’s fusion line Versus. Not a bad start for a young Glaswegian fresh out of university.
Words by Charlie Newman.
All clothes by Christopher Kane.
Since then Kane’s career path, partnered alongside his sister Tammy, has garnered adoring fans. From British royal Kate Middleton, to Hollywood royalty Cate Blanchett, Lupita Nyong’o and Anne Hathaway, not forgetting music royalty including Rihanna and Florence Welch, all have a craving for Kane. Throughout the brands 16-year trajectory, Christopher Kane has maintained a strong sense of identity – sharp tailoring, witticisms about his Scottish homeland, flashes of colour and a tongue in cheek nod to sexuality are all guaranteed.
Fall 2022 does not disappoint. Titled “Sexual Selection”, this collection was a pick-and-mix of sensuality. If you would rather present yourself more modestly, fear not, there’s plenty to choose from. Below-the-knee dresses bristle with frisky feathers, double-breasted blazers sit atop sheer panelled trousers, and shimmering capes crown t-shirts and trousers – all of which are sure to cause a frisson. If you’re feeling a little braver, perhaps you’ll opt for a latex conical bra, or the slashed peek-a-boo or suspender embellished dresses. Whichever you choose, this collection demands attention and wants to be taken out. All of the tactile fabrics sashay and quiver, desperate to jolt and to be desired.
A parallel energy diffuses out of Kane’s paintings, a medium he revisited during the first lockdown. “I needed something to fill that void of not going to the studio every day. I love getting lost in sketching, I can paint and draw for hours. This was the first time in my career there was no pressure of deadlines to draw for collections, it felt very liberating to just do whatever I wanted.” Painting for Kane has familial roots, his mother was his first life-drawing model and years later he depicted his nieces. Painting is part and parcel of childhood and one of the earliest signifiers of communication. From the very beginning Kane “just loved drawing and painting before I even knew what fashion was. I knew that I was really good at it from a young age, not because I was given lots of praise it just felt right – weird, really.” But what with the demands of the fashion industry’s relentless output, Kane’s brush had to be put aside whilst he devoted all of his energy to creating his namesake brand.
Christopher Kane's interview appears in Spring Summer 2022 Issue 8.
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