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“I’m a challenger, an alchemist,” said Christopher Kane after his SS17 show, “I always like to try and change things into gold.” Kane is renowned for his knack of taking an everyday or even ugly item and giving it a fashion twist — past examples include plastic rain hats and plastic overshoes. This season it was the turn of Crocs, possibly the most maligned footwear in history, to get the Kane treatment. In an official collaboration with Crocs, the garish coloured, rubbery clogs came embellished with chunky gems.
There were plenty of other past Christopher Kane idioms in the collection, from metal rings to bodycon to leopard print. This is the designer’s 10-year anniversary so he was looking back over past designs, making this a bit of a greatest hits. Was it just a trip down memory lane for Kane, or a way of asserting his status as a designer with a significant personal canon? Either way it was a fun show with quite instant appeal.
As well as his own archive he was inspired by the second world war: evacuees, the idea of abandonment and the “make do and mend” drive. This was combined with an element of the supernatural and shrines.
Apart from the little collapsed cone hats which evoked the 1940s, these ideas were expressed best in the sense of mismatched clothes or garments pieced together. So a tabard dress was made from sections of black beaded fabric held together by metal rings, cardigans worn hanging off one shoulder were also in sections fastened by loops. Fur coats were slung over scribble pattern dresses.
The fabrics included a white silk printed with old Polaroids and tear sheets made into fluid dresses; a silvery grey leopard print used on coats with slashed elbows and pencil skirts, and glittery synthetics. The glittery pieces were rather appealing, such as a ‘40s style blouse and pleated skirt, and a trench in different coloured sections. Less wearable were long bodycon dresses with sheer peekaboo panels.
Kane is clearly still on a brand-building tip, bags featured his K in gothic font, and a tiered net skirt was paired with a jumper depicting a saint and the words “Christopher be my guide.” Your path to SS17 is set.