Christopher Kane updates the little black dress at London Fashion Week

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

When Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel created the little black dress in the Twenties, she could hardly have foreseen the sexy leather and lace versions which graced London Fashion Week today. The enduring appeal of the classic garment is thanks to the fact that it can be constantly updated, and several designers took full advantage of this quality.

Christopher Kane’s interpretation, as always, was a fresh one. His autumn/ winter 2010 collection took black leather dresses-along with skirts, tops and jackets- and hand embroidered them with flowers. In a less accomplished designer’s hands this combination could have looked contrived or bizarre.

However, Kane, whose latest direction is always the subject of much speculation before his show, is adept at fusing eclectic themes and the result was slick and exciting.

The key components of the collection- black leather and flowers- were combined with patent finishes, gem-like studs and lace. Dresses came mainly in short sheath or pencil shapes, some with shirt-style tops in leather or lace.

Diagonal panels and collars of lace or patent leather appeared on skirts, dresses and blazers.

Bad-girl biker jackets came in matt and patent leather and instead of a Hell’s Angels style skull they were embroidered with the kind of posies that might decorate a strict church minister’s tablecloth. Imagine a very grown up take on a teenage Sunday school dropout smoking by the bike sheds.

Kane’s inspirations were typically eclectic, combining a desire “to do flowers differently,” the Women’s Institute, gemstones from the Vatican and a young Priscilla Presley.

If Kane’s vision was of a rebellious bad girl, Antonio Berardi’s take on the little black dress- and his collection in general-was pure bourgeois seductress. With a more risque nod to vintage Yves Saint Laurent he showed knee length and thigh high black tuxedo dresses which recalled Laurent’s ‘Le Smoking’, while a sheer pussy bow blouse echoed a scandalous see-through version created by the late French designer in 1966.

Berardi, who returned to London Fashion Week last September after showing in Milan and Paris, focused on a pencil shape, and his knee length dresses came with long or capped sleeves, velvet and sheer panels or lace inserts; most provocatively over the breast.

Alongside the little black dress Berardi showed long velvet column gowns in monastic black and cardinal’s red; their backs made from nude silk panels covered in crystals. Expect them to crop up on the red carpet soon, since Berardi’s strong celebrity following includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Other pieces in the collection included trench coats, puffy skirts made from crystal pom-poms and tailored trouser and skirt suits in grey wool; all delivered with an impressive polish.

This quality was also in evidence at Nicole Farhi’s show, held at the Royal Opera House. Over the past few seasons her collections have benefited from cleaner shapes and this one was particularly strong. Highlights included camel wrap coats and body skimming evening dresses with draping.

ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

    £35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

    Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

    Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

    £35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

    Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

    £45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers