Christopher Kane loves the perverse. He loves the ugly, the fetishistic, the taboo and the bad-taste. He loves things that are sexy. He loves combining them with things that are not. Kane is much-hyped but still doesn’t get as much credit as he could. Think of the buzz and mania around Vetements’ take on banality. Kane has been trucking on while all of that has been happening, crafting collections that subtly disgust or provoke - garments that are exceptionally desirable but also cause a slight shudder.
Something magic happened on his runway this season - his experiments in combining the gorgeous and the grotesque just struck the perfect note. It was the collection of the season so far - the star of London Fashion Week. It was titled 'Domestic Services'. His shoes made from mops went viral on Instagram. His reference to Cynthia Payne, the party girl and brothel keeper who was a tabloid favourite in the seventies and eighties and went on trial for keeping a brothel in Streatham in South West London (she was acquitted), caused a flash of hype around the unlikely style icon as confused members of the international press began Googling her backstory. Is there anything more Christopher Kane than a suburban brothel? That union of the mundane and the exceptional is key to his work - he prods the dark underbelly of society. The colours were perfectly retro and perfectly Payne - think pastels, curtain florals and Marigold yellow. Fabrics were inspired by domesticity - whatever version yours may be; cleaning or spanking, chores or slap and tickle. Surfaces were wipe-clean (how practical, yet how naughty), lace looked like doilies, and the majority of the clothing looked like underwear. By the time the sparkling Swarovski-decorated pieces arrived the crowd was at fever pitch, revelling in the awfulness and awesomeness of it all.
Fans of Kane will be thrilled that his infamous collaboration with Crocs has continued. Another, less expected collaboration was also on show - a union with the estate of the late artist John Kacere. He was famous for his close up photo-like paintings of women’s bodies, often clad in frilly, sheer underwear. They capture the same dualities Kane does - something funny, something oddly epic. Something silly, something serious. Something expected, something bizarre. Something sensuous, something trite. The house of Kane is the place to be after this triumphant tour of British domesticity.