September 15, 2008 London
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.