In the wake of the highly influential Professor Louise Wilson's death, her students have been left to contemplate her teachings and among them was London designer Christopher Kane. I've reviewed many of his collections, but his Spring 2015 was particularly special and somewhat personal. You see one of the earliest collections Kane designed back when he was a student Saint Martins was inspired by the bondage photographs of artist Nobuyoshi Araki, and transferred these motifs to clothing incorporating knotted cords and ropes. Fast forward to 2015 and Kane has revisited this motif but added another level of complexity to the show with the ropes tying Kane to his past in a tribute to his old teacher Louise Wilson and her legacy, as well as the impact she has had and will leave on the fashion industry.
I love this dark and moodier colour palette, I've been thinking a lot lately about maturity and aging what with my twenty-first birthday fast approaching next week. Even though I love to do things like write in my diary or do activities often associated with youth I think being able to maintain a sort of passion or obsession about things and approaching them with a childlike fascination is healthy. Who was it that said, children are naturally inquisitive until we beat it out of them? I'm probably paraphrasing here but we kind of lose our enthusiasm about life as we approach adulthood and it has very little do to with working a 9-5 job (not that there's nothing wrong with that) and it happens well before we file in our first tax return. I've been rambling for a while now but I think these playful and seductive motifs in shades of black, white, wine red and powder blue make the techniques Kane has employed here all the more powerful.
In his previous collections, Christopher Kane was inventive and playful in his designs, but this introduction of old school Hollywood glamor and luxury satin suits and dresses has me swooning for a completely different set of reasons. An idea can be simple, but if the execution is carried out to the best of the maker's ability it can still win hearts. I believe that is what we're seeing from this particular collection in which Kane exercises restraint and allows the audience to digest the more texturally complex pieces from the collection. Those dresses are still absolutely gorgeous though, and when shown together as part of a runway collection we kind of see an evolution or transition where variations of a single component emerge. Even those satin suits cinched around the waist with a simple knotted cord are a reminder of Kane's ties to Louise Wilson.
As a continuation of last season's delicate tulle dresses with rectangular extensions mimicking the pages of a delicate book Kane has again ingeniously used tulle to accentuate the waist, hemline and shoulder. An extreme exaggeration of this trend would be something like a dimetrodon (often mistaken as a dinosaur), but I think by being judicious and using each outfit to emphasise a certain part of the body the outfits are chic without being boring. And yet, they are avant garde in nature and could easily be paired with something a little more garish such as vintage Versace or Comme des Garcons. These tulle flaps have been downplayed with the addition of sensible flat shoes in the most gorgeous shade of burgundy and a sensible, boxy handbag. But I see through this ruse and can only dream of the potential for quirky outfits with distinct silhouettes.
I was delighted about the addition of these powder blue pieces amongst all the sombre black, white and wine red but although the shade is kind of pastel it's not exactly a youthful blue either. I mean it's not the shade of blue one typically interacts with in life or nature so it casts a strange and unusual tone over the whole narrative. I do however like the strappy sandals in the same matching blue. That style of shoe has appeared throughout the collection and as always Kane has given careful consideration and matched his shoes with each outfit and again we see the evocation of bondage or ropes tied around the feet. Although I must say, those are the prettiest most gentle looking straps I've seen so far. The little rivets on the sides kind of remind me of how most film directors and comic book illustrators interpret the Frankenstein monster.
Although I've tried to remain unbiased in my commentary for the sake of ~journalistic integrity~ but I can now safely say that the rope embellished dresses are my favourite pieces. They are what made me want to write about this collection and the outfits which opened the show were particularly powerful because they integrated the burgundy, blue, white and black. Those beautiful woven cords used as belts and jackets made from layer upon layer of rope made me feel nostalgic for ancient board games like Snakes & Ladders. Watching fashion shows makes me feel like I am living on another planet, but when they intersect with my everyday life they have an even longer lasting effect. In this case I now want to inspect my local op shop for those analogue treasures. But of course as soon as I play a board game I generally get bored, unless it's monopoly in which case I get excessively competitive. It'd be much more safer for me and everyone else I care about if I continue to lust after more fashion from New York and London.