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.

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

    £23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

    Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

    £14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

    Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower