Pretty yet perverted, innocent yet disturbing—with its gingham chiffon, fan pleating, puff sleeves, and thigh-split dresses, Christopher Kane's Spring collection walked the fine line between good and bad taste that has made his clothes such a phenomenon. The repetition of the central idea—complex, pieced dresses with inserts of pleats; pastel pink, baby blue, and navy or brown checks; bra cups; and panels of white rose-beaded embroidery—became relentless, mesmeric.
At 27, Kane has already developed his own way of building emotion in a room. This time, it was to the compelling, melancholy sound of gospel and spirituals—such an odd choice that it had members of the audience pushing backstage to find out what was going on in his head. "I saw a documentary about the Jonestown mass suicides in Guyana in 1978, so I started thinking about religious cultism," he said. "But that only happened at the end. I was also looking at a photo of Nancy Reagan on the White House lawn, and the movie Lolita. I loved Jeremy Irons' tailored vest in the remake. So that's where the suiting came from."
Putting aside whether Kane's view of America will stir up a furor, the product, in all its detail, is quite brilliantly produced. That goes as much for the slash-shoulder cashmere sweaters and checked crop tops as it does for the dresses, which are made in London. That precision, and the whiff of something disturbing running under the charming surface of this collection, means Christopher Kane has scored yet again.