“People always think that when they see shiny and silver it’s sci-fi” said Christopher Kane after his show in Tate Britain. He was talking about silver twinset cardigans, made from foiled cashmere and silver holographic dresses, which he said he viewed as “quite the opposite, grimy and dirty, like an oil slick”.
Combined with Habotai silk prints featuring spacecraft by the artist Ionel Talpazan, and a “see now buy now” collection of bags and high-top sneakers called “the space collection”, it did seem as if there was a futuristic, otherworldly element. Kane said his influences were more down-to-earth and industrial: including, female factory workers, science packaging and technology.
Certainly shoes with slabs of foam inserted into them felt pretty industrial (as well as making a significant contribution to the “difficult shoe” hall of fame) but overall the collection had a more overtly luxe look than it often does. François-Henri Pinault, chief executive of Kering, which owns a majority stake in Christopher Kane looked on approvingly.
And art had also added an extra dimension to the Roksanda show earlier in the day. Her use of red was inspired by a room of Rothko paintings at the Royal Academy’s recent Abstract Expressionism show and she set about exploring its power and complexities through a series of unusual colour combinations. Pleated tunic tops and trousers, cut angular and asymmetric (and inevitably recalling the pleat master Issey Miyake) and oversized, high-neck knits came in blocked shades of carmine, merlot, scarlet and geranium. Fluid silk jumpsuits in scarlet and mustard felt fresh and light.
There was a Cossack feel to the collection: expressed especially in roomy trousers with fitted ankles tucked into ruched boots and loose tunics cinched with leather belts and quilted coats. Coats were a strong suit: particularly roomy shearling parkas in red and blue.
“I wanted to show this warrior-type woman” Ilincic said backstage. While her woman was not conspicuously predatory, there was an assurance and a power to the clothes.
Ilincic also scored a catwalk coup: the British composer Michael Nyman played piano as an accompaniment. In a short tribute before the official collection, he played his famous Wonderland soundtrack while a single model walked around the catwalk wearing a silk dress in Nicoll Blue. The colour honours the late designer Richard Nicoll who died last year and was chosen by a group of his close friends and developed by the Pantone Color Institute. It was a moving tribute and Nyman’s live performance added a level of depth to a strong collection.
Art and rich fabrics were also an integral part of Erdem’s show, where the designer had imagined a meeting between two of his ancestors. He said “I used a combination of Ottoman necklines and Turkish miniatures, mixing in English florals and tartans”. Dresses were the main focus of the collection and the shapes were quite severe and covered-up with ankle length skirts, high necks and long, bell sleeves. Several versions in white cotton and black organza resembled Victorian nightgowns. The printed and Devore velvet were particularly opulent, featuring dreamy botanical patterns or more formal wallpaper florals. Furnishing fabrics are back in a big way: time to chuck on your chintz.
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