Christopher Kane cuts fashion for life's fast lane. If his own-label London collection wasn't indication enough, his Versus girl marched out across a gymnasium floor, against a backdrop of climbing-rungs and to the sound of basketball rubber screeching. What she wore, of course, was the story - Christopher Kane was the couture level of the concept, Versus immediately showed how Kane's gym-toned re-imaginings of contemporary womenswear could trickle down into everyday life.
The sporty ease and wearability was what first struck you as the Versus models marched out atop high-heeled interpretations of a hi-tech sneaker. As a sidenote, one gets the feeling that, supportive as she is of Kane's progressive fashion vision Donatella Versace would never let a flat shoe such as Kane's brocaded-up poolside slides flip-flop out on a Versace catwalk. But those heels did underscore Kane's slick, go-faster fashions: it was all there in the first outfit, power-pastel satin contrast-banded in black like a soccer kit fused into an ultra-short shift dress. After that opener, it was just a matter of consolidating the message, through sheer drawstring sports trousers, zippered blousons and mesh sweaters, holes chopped out here and there to allow wind to whistle against the skin. Those sickeningly-sweet pastels reminded one of cheap, chain-store bargain-basement tracksuits, in the best possible way. Kane's best work takes common-or-garden references like that and elevates them - by the end of the show, those degrade sugarplum shades in chiffon, satin and even leather, seemed like some of the most modern things we'd seen all week.
Some of Kane's dresses appeared pleated, until they broke into movement - separated into ribbons like a Roman Centurion's skirt, they moves around and away from the body in motion. Maybe that was an oblique reference to the Olympics - albeit the wrong ancient civilisation, the real Greek evoked through transparent chiffon pleated and draped against the body like a chiton. Seeing reflections of The Winged Victory of Samothrace in a four-figure crepe de chine skirt may be something to do with a blinkered fashion vision, but the idea of relentless motion chimes not only with sports, but with the pace of the fashion system today, something Kane's quick turnaround of two collections a season (plus pre-collections and menswear for his burgeoning London line and various consultancies to boot) will have made him all-too familiar with. Nevertheless, it is a testament to Kane's talent that whatever was going on behind his Versus collection, its message was distilled easily into a punchy, short and sweet collection of instantly desirably and as-instantly-disseminated pastel party frocks. Retailers the world over are on their starting blocks right now to take that theme and run with it, right the way to the bank.