London Fashion Week, famed for its youthful talent, has launched the careers of everyone from Rifat Ozbek to John Galliano and from Hussein Chalayan to Alexander McQueen.
All went on to become not only internationally renowned, but also the perfect reflection – in terms of fashion at least – of their time.
Later today, Christopher Kane will unveil his autumn/winter 2011 collection and, like the above names before him, his will be the most hotly anticipated show of the week.
Kane, 28 and from Newarthill near Motherwell, has been drawing in the crowds since his MA show at Central Saint Martin's – a bright and brilliant fusion of metal mesh and lace – in 2006. That same year he set up his label in business partnership with sister, Tammy.
Donatella Versace – who gave him the aforementioned chain mail – employed him as a consultant without delay. Today, they have a more fully-fledged relationship – Kane is responsible for the design of her younger Versus line, to considerable critical acclaim. This year, he became recipient of the second Vogue Fashion Fund, comprising business mentoring and a cash prize of £200,000.
What's special about the designer?
While historically many of the names on the London catwalk schedule have a reputation for raw creativity and an unbridled imagination, Kane's vision is rather more controlled by comparison. His viewpoint is often twisted – even perverse – think S&M Heidi (autumn/winter 2010) or, in his own words, "Princess Margaret on acid" (spring/summer 2011). Above all, though, the designer's followers can look forward to a highly focused affair where the emphasis is as much on hand-craftsmanship as it is technological advancement and the overall effect is tightly-edited fashion perfection.
Because, despite the uplifting and essentially attention-seeking nature of the clothes (and from crystal-encrusted gingham to neon lace they are nothing if not that) the way they are presented is restrained to the point of unassuming. More of a beautiful whisper than a bang, then, and testimony, perhaps, to the sweetly-sophisticated creature the London collections, at their best, have become.
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