fasten your seatbelt! Christopher Kane’s spicy-chic pre-fall collection is heading in that direction. His provocative installations in the form of clothes always sound innocently pragmatic when it comes to them. “We got a buckle from a supplier and started playing with it,” he says nonchalantly in his east London studio. There they were: wide, buckled straps tied at the shoulders, around the neck, and on the skirts of minidresses and coats. In one case, they made up the entire upper body of the dress. “Extreme, but clean,” he added.
Bondage and fetish are probably words we’ll automatically think of here, but not so fast. For Kane, the heavy-duty straps combined with reflective yellow, neon green and orange fabrics are more associated with “uniforms, security guards, policewomen and school lollipop ladies”. (British-school crossover Marshal.) Needless to say, the results are far from practical or streetwear, but (pardon the pun) are pretty compelling in every other respect.
The heart-pounding visuals are nothing short of Christopher Kane’s brilliant party trick. This season, he created pieces with circular cutouts and shoulder straps and buckles. The circle rolls over the bare waist of a long black column, then viciously reveals two half-moons of flesh above a built-in bra. The pair are apparently sisters to the glossy black latex “bat dress” Kane tailored for Tommy Dorfman at last year’s Met Gala. Another close relative is embodied in the spirit of pre-fall’s Wednesday Addams: long, black, off-the-shoulder, bandeau button neckline and lace sleeves.
Kane notes that the collection will start dropping in April, so he’s also finding room for “dresses for weddings, cocktails, and summer needs.” The little white dress is decorated with hand-painted miniature flowers created by a patchwork of organically shaped ‘spots’. Ruffled skirts in bright orange or lime can be buttoned up in front or left long. All in all, this is a series that covers a lot of bases, but always looks like it can’t imitate Christopher Kane. So far, he’s amassed a big script to draw on. Not to forget the body-hugging chain mail mini disco dresses he started designing. They’re here, right now, and just as important now, only this time, with those big black straps laced at the hips and shoulders.