Christopher Kane Womenswear S/S11

Reworked argyle sweaters were paired with intricate laser-cut leather dresses in fluoro brights for stunning effect

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Young Scotsman Christopher Kane is known as game changer on the London scene, often taking things in a radically different direction, much like Miuccia Prada in Milan and Nicolas Ghesquire in Paris. His SS '11 collection might not be quite so revolutionary as some of his previous work – we’ve already seen the acid neons and fluoro brights in other collections this season but in Kane’s hands, they take on new meanings other than tired old Eighties references. Following an invitation to meet the Queen in Buckingham Palace last fall, he came upon a book by legendary dressmaker, Norman Hartnell depicting the Queen growing up in the Forties. Of course Kane’s mind works in mysterious ways when translating this influence to the catwalk. His imaginary Royal started off prim and proper, argyle sweater draped over the shoulder and drop waist dress in astonishing laser-cut leather that resembled lace, and in true Christopher Kane style, gradually became more depraved as time went on, eventually incorporating all manner of references from Japanese tattoos, Victorian pinups and schoolgirl pinafores. Things got delightfully seedy when he sent out a negligee in sick green Chantilly lace. The effect was rather like seeing a young Princess Margaret, tripped out on LSD at a rave. In subverting the codes of propriety and femininity, Kane has once again given us a collection with much to think about.

Dazed Digital: What surprised you looking at Norman Hartnell’s pictures of Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth?

Christopher Kane: Sophistication, elegance. These women were such icons and they were so well groomed and something to aspire to.

DD: To me it looked like she started off very proper at the start and gradually became more perverted…

Christopher Kane: Yeah she became more Yakuza, Japanese gangster wife, with tattoo branding! But it’s a nice starting point, even the hemlines were dropped, there was a softer shoulder. And with the neon colours, they just make your heart race.

DD: Do you feel this collection is a reaction against the previous one?

Christopher Kane: Yeah last season was all black but with this beautiful embroidery. This season there was the attention to detail again but I always like to change it up with different fabrics and colours.

DD: And what emotion would you say runs through the collection?

Christopher Kane: All sorts – blood sweat and tears!

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