“I have always been obsessed by that pristine woman, so clean, so proper, yet having an emotional breakdown inside,” says Christopher Kane. “We wanted to look at that in the collection; the idea of interiors, of a closed domestic world, made into the exterior look of a person. There is something so OCD about it, something both clean and kinky. It’s what goes on behind closed doors in those everyday environments; the smell of bleach, Royal Doulton figurines, readers wives and a certain kind of British sauciness.”
The domestic goings-on behind twitching net curtains – both humdrum and astonishing – is often the inspiration for Christopher Kane collections. Yet for Spring-Summer 2018, these distinct, peculiar, interior worlds have perhaps found their fullest form of exterior expression.
From elegant, forties housecoats to desultory dusters, the inspirations range from the utterly refined to the most commonplace household objects fetishized, both crossing and conflating distinctly British class boundaries in the process. It is perhaps no surprise that Cynthia Payne, with her famously scandalous ‘sex parties’ hosted in suburban Streatham and visited by peers of the realm, is one of the ‘muses’ this season.
Ideas of the prim and the perverse, the elegant and the everyday combine in wipe-clean surfaces, doily-like lace, bleach bottle blue, sinuous satin and laundry lingerie. Nightwear is daywear in the collection and is full of exquisite detailing, featuring much of the Kane signature lace innovation. Technical experiments abound, with new ‘scouring pad’ knits, sparkling ‘laundry bag’ lace, and ‘loop mop’ constructions. A new silhouette conflating the forties with the seventies is introduced in tailored pieces with sensuous curved shoulders, nipped waists and rotund peak lapels, much in Duchesse satin. It is this combination of the high and the low that is expressed throughout, with refined luxury given a purposeful sense of British slap and tickle.
While the collaboration with Crocs continues this season, the shoes are given a further, richly embellished rhinestone spin. The Christopher Kane / Swarovski Atelier jewellery line is expanded to encompass ‘Bolster’ cuffs, rings and earrings, as well as the classic necklaces. But it is perhaps the newest collaboration with the gallery of the late artist John Kacere that is the most startling. His epic photorealist ‘portraits’ of women – usually featuring their midsections – are the ultimate motifs of the collection: sensuous, overwhelming, with a sense of humour as well as unashamed sex.