CHRISTOPHER KANE AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR LONDON
Christopher Kane’s interest in the sciences has helped shape his utterly original voice. It has, at times, brought a bold, sexual undercurrent to his work, never more so than with the mesmerizing collection he showed today, in which it was nothing short of the molecular rationale for human desire that he was seeking to express in his designs. Clothes are often described as “sensual” or “sexy,” but Kane’s were unabashedly sexual. According to the show notes, the dynamic zigzag that bifurcated a sheer lace dress represented the current of an electric orgasm. The last looks were made of Swiss lace—not pieces but whole panels—depicting a tangle of anatomically correct nudes. The same writhing figures were traced in glitter on a sheer tulle dress that, in silhouette at least, was otherwise as high-necked-and-below-the-knee proper as any church dress.
And that was the startling crux of the collection: the way that Kane counterpointed high necks and long sleeves and sensible skirts and ladylike ruffles with suggestive sheerness and cutouts and huge safety belt buckles used as a leitmotif on tops where they “sexually slotted into place” (imagine show notes written by Masters and Johnson). Opening with what could be considered his version of Le Smoking—the jacket zapped with a hot red lapel—Kane moved onto simple velvet pieces with naked silhouettes that were starkly beautiful, then sinuous chiffons and variations on snake prints, the common theme in them all the idea of seduction (the Serpent being the original seducer). But seduction is a dangerous game, and Kane allowed disorder to intrude in looks whose asymmetrical, unfinished randomness suggested the heedless nature of desire. The story got more lubricious as it unfolded, culminating in those pieces made from “lovers lace,” duplicating the sketches that Kane and his team made during life drawing classes in his studio. The show closed to the Andrea True Connection’s “More, More, More,” an anthem from disco’s hedonistic heyday. It sealed the feel that the collection was about things that happen at night. We all look better in the dark, after all.