Monday, October 6, 2008


"I'M the king of the swingers," rang out and tempted us all to boogie as we left the Christopher Kane show today. And despite his famous modesty, Kane has every reason to develop an ego after this show – his fifth, and possibly his best.

Last season's oversized sequins had grown into even bigger circles of chiffon and leather that rippled like scales around the models or created scalloped contours down their bodies to oscillating – and very short – hemlines. Nude, plus orange and pink, saffron and peach, the colors of summer 2009, meant this was steamy as ever – Kane's women aren't shy – but body con under-layers meant that the nipples he insisted on showing off this time last year were kept safely under wraps this time around.

The jungle theme continued with leopard print cashmere cardigans in orange and yellow, plus roaring gorilla faces making up the upper half of jersey dresses.Stunning shoes, mules and shoe-boots featured rhinoceros horns all the way up to the ankle – and Kane proved once again that he can tailor chiffon like nobody else can: pleats combined with the circular motif to add movement, while tiny Swarovski embroidery added to the supreme quality of these pieces.

The season's must-have single-shouldered dress appeared in grey chiffon, while similarly ethereal white or nude versions were structured with stiff wire to produce the world's most beautiful arthropods.

Overall, it was a deft move forward for a young designer who needs to cement an identity and prove something more than an ability to come up with a novel idea each season. The circle cutting, which held echoes of Cardin or Capucci, looked young and modern—and provided a direct link to the giant paillettes Kane used last season. When the scallops stood out to frame a shoulder line or run up and down a pair of skinny pants, they looked head-turningly new, though when they turned into conceptual bundles, the wonder wore off. The sweaters continued his signature in a bright, accessible way, and the gorilla prints, though patched into two structured cotton dresses on the runway, will also be available as easy-to-wear and well-priced T-shirt dresses. Kane's still a designer who can hit fashion sideways with a new idea, but there are signs that he's beginning to think of how to turn what he has into a brand.

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