Limits Tested

Limits Tested

I know it sounds a little like lazy fashion journalism to throw around the phrase "it's so wrong, it's right", as if everything that had an inkling of bad taste could be excused with those words.  Depending on the person, one could argue that something that seems "wrong" to most, is really just that – wrong, with no ifs or buts.  I'm also pretty sure Christopher Kane gets tired of that phrase being bandied about when people discuss his collections.  Sometimes it just isn't appropriate.  The chiffon plaids and double thigh-high split skirts (which then prompted a double thigh-high split skirt rampage in other collections) of S/S 10?  The embroidered florals of A/W 10?  The brocades and filmy organzas of S/S 12?  All pitch perfect without necessarily being "wrong".  The neon bandage minis of his debut collection, the ruffled snakeskin prints of S/S 08 and the lava lamp gel-filled pieces of A/W 11 do teeter around the line of wrongness but somehow sway their way into becoming lustworthy eventually.  

His A/W 11-12 collection however struck me as his most challenging yet.  Well, at least challenging for me for reasons I shall dissect below as I once again delve into the ins and outs of a Kane collection, which has become a seasonal ritual of mine.  

Lets start with the pervasive silk moir√©, which almost overtakes the collection with its wood-grained texture.  Kane cited the linings of coffins as a reference point.  I would add that moir√© reminds me of hideous 80s wallpaper and matching curtain tiebacks.  Maybe an Argos sofa as well in shades of undesirable plum, seafoam and magnolia.  It's a fusty and heavy that I associate with terrifying Changing Rooms interiors (pre-makeover that is).  In garment form, they make fetching flared-out gowns on Victorian dollies that act as toilet roll covers.  Kane took this shady fabric and dunked them in vampiric red, inky blue and murky purple, padding the edges out with leather and in cut-out dresses, tops, trousers and puffa coats.  A moir√© knee length puffa coat pushes my limits right to the edge but everything else in this wavy/watered fabric is alarmingly convincing.  Am I that wrong-side-of-the-tracks girl who is slipping in and out of seedy situations that Kane imagined for this collection?  Nope, hardly.  However, he has successfully convinced me that moir√© can exist in a context outside of bygone living rooms and chintzy interiors.













Then comes the pinstripe, printed on leather, striped on to velvet and repeated in the knitwear.  Here's a stripe that I've not yet tried, even when I had to wear pencil skirts to work.  Get the stripe too wide and you end up looking like a cheesy 40-something wheeler dealer who wears too much gold jewellery.  Come to think of it, the pinstripe in any width is likely to remind you of wedding morning suits, possibly with a flash of purple or burgundy handkerchief.  That's not in itself a bad thing but spanking a wad of money on a high-end designer pinstriped ensemble is yet another limit.  When printed on leather, you definitely get the kolh-rimmed vibes of the film The Craft.  That's a good thing by the way (unless you have something against Neve Campbell).  I'm in semi-belief that I too can stomp about in a knee-length leather pin-striped coat and beaver boots, putting hexes on unsuspecting folks.







Chainmail is something of a *ahem* hard limit too (look, if The Guardian can persistently litter their pages with Fifty Shades references then godamnit, I will too).  Kane coats the chainmail in red, purple and black and uses them as backgrounds to his floral beading and plastic strand embroidery.  To be fair, it's gold chainmail that particularly offends my sensibilities.  Remember those handkerchief chainmail halterneck tops?  No, I never wore them either but I definitely remember them being a hit in da club on girls who knew how to properly bump n' grind to 112.  I think I may have tried to shimmy around in a chainmail hipster belt.  Emphasis on the word 'tried'.  Kane did venture into gold territory with the outfit he created the Stella Tennant in the Olympics Closing Ceremony but for his collection he uses this oozy metal material as the perfect backdrop to one of my favourite elements of the collection – the plastic fantastic embroidery – yet another Kane twist on the floral motif.  It's particularly effective when the flowers burst into shades of blue, purple and red all over a silver chainmail and leather-edged dress, like strange fireworks on a LED screen.













Finally we see the return and strengthening of the practically-trademark Kane leopard print.  Colouring in the spots of a leopard print in shades outside of the brown/beige remit isn't necessarily innovative but with this season, it seems Kane has made it his business to go wild with his leopard print, rendering the pattern in a plethora of unexpected colour combinations.  In addition to the pieces in the show such as the zip-up leather jacket and sleeveless shift dress, his commercial collection sees the leopard print placed on wool coats, biker jackets, chiffon shirts and jogging bottom and sweatshirts.  A matchy matchy leopard print hoodie and jogger combo feels like the apex of bad taste limits.  By simply changing up the colours of this familiar animal print, with the flick of a photoshop wand print, I'm suddenly all in favour of slumping around in this ensemble, maybe with the biker jacket draped over it.  Holding the clutch too.  Maybe with a jumper tied around the waist as well. 

Hmmm… perhaps these so-called hard limits were just a little too easy to hit.  Come on Kane.  Give it your all next season.  Test me with something universally reviled.  I want to physically recoil in my seat and then find myself rethinking my initial reaction two months later, realising that yup, in fact, you CAN touch anything and turn it into collection gold.  













Leave a comment
  1. Miss Coco

    2012-09-01 at 1:42 PM

    I loved the fashion show and textiles!!
    Miss Coco

  2. Victor

    2012-09-01 at 2:01 PM

    Christopher Kane is always soooo good, I love his creations!

  3. Tara

    2012-09-01 at 2:26 PM

    I, too, have noted the phrase “it’s so wrong, it’s right” bandied around when it comes of many of Christopher Kane’s collections. But, I have always felt that, by in large, Kane’s collections have been more or less pitch-perfect for their time, without being “same-y”.
    I think his A/W 11-12 collection compounds this belief, beautifully.
    Best Wishes,

  4. jean cave

    2012-09-01 at 2:35 PM

    Bit edgy but quality production and sooo wearable. He Kaned it.

  5. Diana Pereira

    2012-09-01 at 3:09 PM

    even if so wrong, there are so many mr. rights taking his brilliant ideas to make they shine. Kane can say being there, done that to most designers. He is fabulous!!!

  6. Serdane

    2012-09-01 at 3:26 PM

    Love the way he is putting prints or other ornements on black items.

  7. ttea

    2012-09-01 at 3:26 PM

    I don’t know that the phrase ‘it’s so wrong, it’s right’ really applies here. I found most of the collection to be quite elegant. The lines are all fairly classic, which gives even the more questionable stuff a leg to stand on. I found the chain mail pieces strikingly beautiful, especially the flower detail, and also the pieces made out of a sort of see through mesh. There are other pieces here that I find completely revolting, but there’s not much good about them.

  8. Anastasios

    2012-09-01 at 3:36 PM

    Amazing collection and review dear Susie!!!
    Christofer Kane just feels sooooooo right 🙂

  9. Stills

    2012-09-01 at 4:04 PM

    Love those prints!

  10. Carina

    2012-09-01 at 5:14 PM

    Great post. I love all of the leather touches here and there! Brilliant collection

  11. t

    2012-09-01 at 5:19 PM

    Most of the collection is simply awful and tacky as hell, but there is something about the chainmail stuff that I’m drawn too.

  12. Millie Cotton

    2012-09-01 at 7:28 PM

    I love the chainmail stuff, although it looks dead on the hanger but amazing on. The rest of the collection seemed a little lazy and boring though. Good fair review – someone needed to do it. Just because you’ve great in the past doesn’t allow you to slack off in the future.
    It’s a LDN Thing

  13. Peter

    2012-09-01 at 8:13 PM

    I’m surprised that people say CK is so wrong, it’s right. The clothing seems relatively safe – not particularly loud or gaudy – aesthetically straightforwardly pleasing!
    x Peter

  14. Cassandra

    2012-09-02 at 5:11 AM

    These are beautiful pieces. I have to say I really like it and they are different! 😀
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  15. Suzi

    2012-09-02 at 10:50 AM

    Just love the originality of these garments, using well known prints, such as chamo, but with an edge.
    Suzi x

  16. patricia

    2012-09-02 at 3:34 PM

    great collection! love all

  17. Cristián Pavez Díaz

    2012-09-02 at 5:06 PM

    Christopher Kane has always been edgy, but in a very smart manner. I’m not surprised with the rather narrow vision that journalists have on this. It’s pretty obvious that some other adored designers are going to dig on this and take some ideas for their own.
    Greetings from Santiago, Chile.
    Twitter: @cristianpavezd

  18. yun

    2012-09-02 at 7:24 PM

    love it!

  19. Sarah

    2012-09-02 at 7:39 PM

    Add me to those who think the clean shapes of the garments make the baroque prints/textures interesting rather than tacky.

  20. Shynii

    2012-09-03 at 6:59 AM

    Ugh that plastic embroidery is fantastic. And on chainmail no less!

  21. Rosemary Schmidt

    2012-09-03 at 8:54 AM

    Everything just came out perfectly well and as it is said fashion is al about twisting ideas to suit whatever you intend to achieve.

  22. Rigoberto McClure

    2012-09-03 at 9:01 AM

    I love the way the colors blended and the fashion show was such a success, if you ever want to be successful in the world of fashion then you must be up to date and creative as well.

  23. Raphaëlle

    2012-09-03 at 10:47 AM

    Ideally vibrant for fall!

  24. gothic

    2012-09-03 at 10:54 AM

    WOW!Awesome show!What an amazing collection!
    Thanks for sharing!

  25. Noe Farrell

    2012-09-03 at 11:09 AM

    Wow! So fascinating fashion. I really love it. Everything looks so gorgeous. The pics are so wonderful indeed. Keep up!

  26. T shirt printing

    2012-09-03 at 12:22 PM

    I love the complete collection, specially the colors. It’s perfectly matched. This is where creativity meets fashion.

  27. jessbuurman

    2012-09-03 at 1:40 PM
  28. Elvis Trujillo

    2012-09-04 at 9:21 AM

    I love the red and black blended dress. There is some uniqueness in it.

  29. Sari Purdy

    2012-09-04 at 9:24 AM

    The model looks great. She has a pretty small waist and the dresses fit her very well. She is the exact definition of perfection.

  30. Elvis Trujillo

    2012-09-04 at 9:26 AM

    I couldn’t agree more. @ Sarry, she looks great!

  31. Goldie

    2012-09-04 at 12:56 PM

    I love Kane’s leopard prints, the colours and prints add a really great quirkiness to the clothing that looks awesome!
    Check our great give away to win a ‘Goldie’ outfit!!

  32. ally

    2012-09-04 at 2:46 PM

    love christopher kane and his amazing collections! i get my inspiration for next season trends from this site,

  33. joe F

    2012-09-05 at 6:21 PM

    hi i follow and blog fashion – newest website to be launched ( i believe its only been out for a day !!!!) is BPVGmoda – its by one of the Gucci family and is very cool relating to her vintage family collection of Gucci

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    2012-11-29 at 12:12 PM

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