Leave it to one of London’s most original designers, Christopher Kane, to take a rather macabre point of inspiration and transform it according to his distorted, otherworldly vision. For Fall/Winter 2016, Kane was interested in hoarders, but they are not a glamorous lot. Maybe if you’re an eccentric recluse living on a vast estate, you’d find the rudimentary makings of this clap-trap collection, but for the most part, real hoarders’ homes are filled with decay, and unspeakable layers of detritus. Kane was more interested in the decay aspect, a note which transferred itself onto silky watercolor floral prints, that were actually photo reproductions of flowers after being left to wilt for a week. He was also keen on finding new homes for all sorts of junk-drawer elements, like staples, ribbons, lonely buttons, and earrings that have been divorced from their partner. On paper, it all sounds rather madcap, and in execution it was, but in a weird, wonderful way that felt refreshingly risky.
On paper, it all sounds rather madcap, and in execution it was, but in a weird, wonderful way that felt refreshingly risky.
Just a note that “weird” doesn’t mean ugly or unlikeable, it simply means it’s unlike anything you’ve seen before, and maybe you don’t have the language to quite do it justice. This is the case with Kane’s clothing, which at times was quite beautiful, and at other times challenging to the senses. Kane’s floral photo prints were especially lovely, and were gorgeous as silky open-faced robes and even more so when married with webby lace on feminine mini dresses. Flowers continued to be a big theme in the collection, popping up as dainty embroidery on sheer frocks, and appliquéd down the front of oversized sweaters.
Ample knits were repeated throughout the collection, some of which sported giant letter Ks in King James font, while others were wrapped around the body and topped with shaggy collars and cuffs. The onslaught of prints and cozy textures took a pause, as Kane reoriented his focus toward minimalist dresses and asymmetrical suits in either mauve or black, which either featured glittering brooches safety-pinned to their surfaces or colorful ostrich plumes sprouting at random. The suits were especially covetable, and moved beautifully due to their feathery accents, but a Dayglo orange column dress was a bit of an eyesore. In a more subdued color, it would have fared just fine, but Kane is not known for his subtlety. By the end, Kane’s “hoarder” went all-out, in a blazer-dress hybrid that sported fluttering ribbons and a “dead” flower that hung limply around the neck, which was followed by four dresses comprised of a frenetic array of ribbons and flower appliqués. While we can’t speak to the underlying psychology that drives a person to hoard belongings, there is plenty of enticing work in Kane’s presentation to spurn a collecting frenzy.