CHRISTOPHER Kane’s signature, famously, is that he has no signature. Each of the Motherwell-born designer’s collections is entirely different, each with its own distinct identity.
As such, there is always a palpable buzz before his shows, as the fashion world waits to see what the Scottish wunderkind and toast of London Fashion Week will do next.
That buzz was heightened ahead of his AW13/14 show after the luxury conglomerate PPR acquired a majority stake in his label. His is the first British brand they have invested in since Alexander McQueen in 2001, and the move is set to give his label the financial boost to make him a global fashion superstar.
While it’s too early for their support to really take effect, the ante was undoubtedly upped this season as he sent out a whopping 60 looks in a show that saw him revisiting some of his most iconic looks - deep red velvet dresses, buckled kilts, floral appliqué - and giving us a host of new ideas.
Kane admitted backstage that he was fizzing with ideas this season and they overflowed in a collection that had three distinct elements. The first saw a minimal blue camo print appearing on crisp tailoring and floppy mini kilts. Leather kilt buckles popped up on everything from dresses to coats and jackets were boxy, boyish and often trimmed with fox fur.
Urban camouflage gave way to ladylike lace, in burgundy and navy. Minimal swirls, waves and spirals of lace hugged the body or joined panels of velvet for an effect that was almost medieval, and made a strong nod to his AW07 collection. Stiff silk trousers were wide and slouchy and wide lace seams appeared to ‘unzip’ at the shoulders and hems. One minute we had a Sergeant Pepper-esque lace jacket, the next, a lace dress with a Bouddica-inspired metal neck piece.
Next up was a return to camo but this time it was delicately-layered chiffon. Then more camo kilts, but now with stubby little feathers poking out from between the pleats. More feathers trimmed simple dresses and skirts before giving way to spectacular 3D embroidery; tops and dresses bloomed with clustered flowers.
A brief reference to his AW09 collection came via layered panels of pale chiffon outlined in black before dresses and tops embroidered or printed with a brain motif. Was it a nod to Kane’s overflowing imagination? Possibly, since what came next was completely different once again. Dresses and skirts - first in black then blue - could almost have been made from tinsel. Closer inspection revealed that each sparkling strand was painstaking 3D beading. These were fairies descended from the top of a fashionably kitsch Christmas tree.
As ever, a roar of appreciation went up when Kane took a shy bow at the end of what was one of his best shows to date. The fashion world waits, breath baited, to see what he will do when let loose with a bigger budget. This gave us a taster and proved that as well as his fizzing creativity he has the mettle to play in the big leagues.