More joy, more love, more sex. Christopher Kane has never shied away from sex, and for A/W 18, sex was his USP. Referencing the seventies book, The Joy of Sex, an illustrative manual or ‘gourmet guide to lovemaking’, Kane considered how fundamental sex is to his woman.
What was offered today was celebratory and sensual rather than seedy. The fabrics alone indicated tactility; Kane’s signature silk slip dresses, lined with lace, were joined by crushed velvets and buttery leathers sculpted into suits. The balance of playful with prim showed in slashes of skin on a jumper dress. A muted flesh-coloured lace formed a high-necked apron on a black leather shift. ‘It’s about the strength of character shown by the strength of the clothes,’ Kane said.
The designs emulate strength in the sharp tailoring and bold silhouettes. Whereas a number of designers this season have been looking to the eighties, to power-women with broad shoulders and spangles, Kane conflates his historical references, subverting each garment with a twist from different periods. An Elizabethan neckline sits atop a forties, nipped-in waist. His embellished, chain dresses could be armour, could be cages, could be nineties rave-wear.
The collection concluded with the introduction of the illustrations that inspired the whole thing. The illustrations invoke a very British sense of what it is to look at images of sex; they’re almost banal in their accuracy. Chris Foss’s drawings appeared on garments edged with marabou, imprinted on sheer, beige material, reminiscent of skin-coloured tights. In this context, they looked cheeky. The feathers came in red and pink, joyful and sweet as the act itself.
Introducing the successor to the Croc, Kane collaborated with Z-Coil orthopaedics to create a shoe with a bouncy heel, the new ugly trainer. Gently nodding to the concept of kinky, the shoe is leathery, with a rubber ball for the sole. As is so keenly indicated in this collection, Kane flirts with perversity, but never quite goes the whole hog. This is what keeps his collections from feeling fetishistic, from pushing too far at the boundaries of what distinguishes fashion from costume. It’s also what keeps his customer coming back for more and keeps Christopher Kane’s name on the tips of the tongues of his critics.