If you've physically flicked through the latest issue of Elle Collections or erm… done it through my little video, you might have seen that I briefly reviewed the Christopher Kane S/S 12 collection. Nightmare! Condensing into 250 words, how I feel about a show, which I thought was so beautiful that afterwards, I had an awkward moment where I was mega lost in my own headspace that I didn't even notice Samantha Cameron calling out to me. Doh! Well, that in itself was a weird moment.
"Directional surprises are a given in Kane's shows, but we never expect to be moved to tears." was how I began the review. Yup, I wept a little bit at the end. I don't know why. I'm normally the person scoffing at people who talk of rapturous tears at a show. I'm not even sure it was because of the show. I'm just going to go with the line that I did indeed cry because of Kane's stunning textural crescendo that he had built up, backed to a soundtrack of the then NOT-so-ubiquitous track of Lana del Rey's Video Games. Sure, the song is currently tinged with the uncomfortable croaking of her SNL performance but back in September, it worked a treat at the show, lilting, lulling, conveying that sadness that underlied this collection.
Kane can coax a theme or a motif and hammer it home to the point where you can't get anything else out of your head. It's his very own Derren Brown trick – "Look into my eyes, look into my eyes, look into my eyes and you will find yourself loving dinosaur dreses/scalloped leather/gel-filled plastic." This collection was no exception to that except it was slightly more vague when it came to finding a unifying theme. Most people concluded it was a shining optimism. Kane spoke of looking at photos on the internet of girls in their often decrepit bedrooms with their naff interiors and peeling wallpaper. Without specifying photographic sources, you can already guess it's of the Lina Scheynius ilk that graces plenty of Tumblr pages.
From a slightly depressing environment though, Kane draws out something quite special. He took us on a textural journey that would seek to erase some of that sadness. Lost loves, family problems and a distinct lack of colour in life would be somehow saved by Kane's shimmer and shine. A gross exaggeration you say? Well I've tried one of the brocade green dresses on with their sharp cuts and ghostly organza inserts and frankly, I didn't want to take it off. I'd happily make like Kane's S/S 12 girls, wack on some flip flops and go about life looking a little like a Harry Potter special FX.
The cuts and inserts are a clever device of revealing flesh without showing skin if that makes sense. The glimpses are narrow and aren't the central focus.
Nostalgia, as with a lot of Kane's collections, also plays into the collection as he remembers the cool girls at school that wore their P.E. kit with flair, hence why there were cricket jumpers and buttoned up short sleeved shirts. I only knew those girls from afar. My polo shirt and hockey skirt was ill fitting and awkward in year 7 but the older girls looked like they could seduce someone with their kit.
As always, it pays to see Kane's pieces up close. He is all about the unexpected details that make you ponder why it hasn't been done before. Good on Kane for picking up on a hobby that pretty much every girl I know has dabbled in, one way or another. Stickers!!!! Some people took it to extremes (*cough* me) and had albums separated out by shinies, puffies, metallics, felties and by characters (Japanese, American, Animals etc…) or others just simply revelled in the simple pleasure of getting a fresh pack of stickers and decorating their notepads with them. These holographic edged floral motifs were just one sticker reference in this collection. My metallics section would have been greatly bumped up if I had these beauties in my album. I like how the edges also stray from the material a little as though it looks like it could be peeled off.
The "wallpaper" brocade section is where the florals seen in the backdrops of Kane's reference photos, become more pronounced and accentuated. The one colour which I'm adverse to – poo brown – gets a shiny makeover here that makes me consider the shade.
The blue is where this brocade truly shines…
The steely-hued organza printed with faint florals that look like you're looking at flowers buried in an algae-filled pond is really quite stunning when you see it up close. When you move it around in your hands, there's a mercurial property to the material that is sort of like one of those magic eye patterns, where you really tried to see something deeper than the surface pattern.
Sticker reference number two comes when the organza and printed floral appliques are trapped together in what is my favourite section in the whole show. The flowers look like my early decoupage efforts, when I learnt what decoupage meant and took to it with gusto, simply because I liked the word. I like how the flowers haven't been arranged in the way that a natural spread of flowers would be or how a conventional tessellated pattern falls. Instead a mix of blooms are scattered about haphazardly. Scarily, this is exactly how I'd arrange a pack of flower stickers in an album – never having similar colours near each other, making sure that the big flowers and the small flowers are evenly spaced out and not having them too close to each other. These pieces get a sticker album arrangmenet A+++. I'll be sure to tell Kane that (along with calls for a website, which STILL hasn't materialised – WHY?!?!?)
The sprinkle of diamante and final passage of shine is something that Kane is well versed in. As the show approaches the end though, his continued collaboration with J Brand is showcased here in a pair of cut-off shorts and jeans. After getting a taste of the resort denim collaboration which is decently priced, I wonder how these diamante studded pieces will fare.
The blusters of metallic embroidery and diamante grace simpler shirts in the showroom which will be the easier way of wearing a touch of Kane…
I'm personally in favour of the weighty use of diamante. The more clusters, the better really.
Finally, we come to the questionable talking point of the show. The pool sandals. Kane probably anticipated the inevitable haters. Having bought a pair of the sample satin heels that almost came to fruition for the show, I can safely say that the pool sandals were definitely a smart move. Keeping all this shimmer and shine firmly to the ground with something as unexpected and wholly practical as the pool sandal made the collection seem all the more real and graspable. Flat trainers could easily have worked too but that's just me and my obsession with dressing things down.