It takes a unique mind to watch Planet of the Apes and use it to start a fashion collection, but that's where Christopher Kane jumped off for Spring. He liked the apes' leather tunics. "It was that, and then The Flintstones, Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C., and then Dian Fossey and her gorillas," he said. And, like all little boys, Kane loved playing with toy dinosaurs. Hence, the stegosaurus shoes.
Even his sister Tammy was incredulous at first. "When he started saying 'prehistoric,' I said, 'What? I don't know what you're talking about.'" But then the pair started work, and what emerged was an obsession with scales, which somehow morphed into half-circle 3-D geometric cutting in organza or leather, and even a bit of menswear fabric. Then he worked in bright animal-spot "Flintstone" cashmeres (made at Johnstons in Kane's native Scotland), photo-prints of Digit the gorilla, and finally, some suggestive marabou trimming on chiffona late thought about Peter Bogdanovich's Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women for that special borderline-tacky touch that always puts the finishing stamp on a Christopher Kane collection.
Overall, it was a deft move forward for a young designer who needs to cement an identity and prove something more than an ability to come up with a novel idea each season. The circle cutting, which held echoes of Cardin or Capucci, looked young and modernand provided a direct link to the giant paillettes Kane used last season. When the scallops stood out to frame a shoulder line or run up and down a pair of skinny pants, they looked head-turningly new, though when they turned into conceptual bundles, the wonder wore off. The sweaters continued his signature in a bright, accessible way, and the gorilla prints, though patched into two structured cotton dresses on the runway, will also be available as easy-to-wear and well-priced T-shirt dresses. Kane's still a designer who can hit fashion sideways with a new idea, but there are signs that he's beginning to think of how to turn what he has into a brand.