Now that Christopher Kane has shed his outside obligations, his focus on his own brand has intensified. First fruit of the new focus: his first pre-fall collection. And what a way to start! Kane isn't one of those designers who uses a pre-collection as a test for the upcoming season. Instead, he'll resuscitate old ideas that didn't make it into the main line (here, there were some revisited prints) or refer back to favorite shapes and fabrics. It's a smart move, because Kane is coming up with so many ideas for each collection that it takes more than one season to truly come to grips with them. Spring's monster mash came 'round again, this time with Dracula and the Creature From the Black Lagoon on T-shirts, and the specter of the Werewolf lurking behind shredded denims and refined dresses with patches of silk thread designed to fray at the touch of a claw. "I like the look of things worn in," said Kane, knowing full well it will be a triumph to translate such a notion at retail.

Kane has always been a master of the macabre and here, beyond the trad monsters of Hammer horror movies, he was equally tuned in to monsters of the mind. There was a creepy old Hollywood vibe, like Norma Desmond or Baby Jane holed up in their shadowy mansions on Sunset Boulevard. Maybe it was the combinations of tulle and velvet, or those unsettling little details that Kane is so good at. Gazing upon a long skirt in a gray floral print with a weird splash of fluoro, the designer shuddered. "Long and floral freaks me out." He topped that skirt with a sweater in chenille with the greasy nocturnal luminosity of a black panther. The incontrovertible truth is that these excursions into the vaguely unacceptable are what give Kane's clothes their irresistibly eldritch glamour. A bustier dress in a jaguar-printed goatskin trembled on the brink of a taste so bad it was have-to-have-it good. (There were slip-ons to match.) Swarovski's contribution to the collection—crystal necklaces mimicking DNA's double helix—underscored the fact that Kane is generating new fashion lifeforms. Dr. Frankenstein, I presume.