Kane-ing It!

Having first joined forces with Topshop in 2007 for a capsule collection, Christopher Kane returns this AW09 with his eagerly awaited third collaboration with Topshop. The landmark collection, which is 39 pieces strong, will be the largest Topshop Boutique collection with a designer to date and includes accessories and footwear.

Glaswegian Christopher Kane moved to London at 17 to enrol at Central St Martins School of Art where he completed a foundation course, and achieved a BA and distinction in his MA degree in Womenswear design. While still at college he worked for fellow designers Russell Sage and Giles Deacon and upon graduation in addition to being something of an award magnet he was requested by Vogue Editor Anna Wintour to hold a private viewing of his graduate collection. Big!

Echoing his AW09 collection, Christopher’s fusion of man-made embellishments creates a subversive look; the collection is characterised by the use of delicate mirrors and eyelets. Body conscious pieces in fine black gauze form the back bone of the collection and are embellished with mirrors and eyelets. This adornment features on several pieces including 50s inspired briefs which are high-waisted and worn as outerwear, slim fitting leggings, a slick long-sleeved dress and a high-necked body with cap sleeves.

Simple garments are given an element of luxury: a black cotton shirt buttons-up to the collar to expose oversized black gems covering the neckline; a white jersey t-shirt dress features several rows of oversized white opaque gems around the neck, sleeves and hem of the dress. Evening dresses and camisoles have a deep V to accentuate the décolletage and feature oversized jewels around the neckline. It’s no surprise given Christopher’s Kane work for Atlier Swarovski, a small collective of designers who create special jewellery collections for Swarovski.

To compliment the high glamour, the collection also includes off-duty pieces like his embellished grey marl tracksuit, hooded sweatshirt and dress. Repeated rivets decorate an ink black jean and matching denim jacket while an oversized slate grey silk-knit vest and an open cardigan feature the print of an enlarged rivet.

If an oversized Gorilla was the iconic emblem for his AW08 collection, this season’s covetable creature is the alligator; a close up of an alligator’s jaw which is emblazoned onto a jersey dress, a jersey block tee and a black jersey shopper.

Having consulted on shoes and accessories for Versace Atelier, it was only a matter of time before his own footwear and accessories line were to emerge. Slouch leather pouch bags are oversized and worn with a cross body strap. Other key items include a small butter soft black leather box bag, high open-toe shoe sculptured and formed from cut-about mesh and leather, and a Chelsea boot updated with a stiletto and stack heel.

Following the excitement of the launch of Christopher Kane’s Topshop AW09 Boutique collection on September 18 for London Fashion Week, Topshop organised an interview via his blog. We have the Qs and A’s here.

I’d like to say that I adored the Christopher Kane AW 09 collection and hope that the Topshop collection brings a part of this look to the high street (Get me one of those nude dresses!) Where do you get your inspiration from Christopher? Do you read blogs? Xx Emma
Glad you liked my AW09, its defiantly one of my all time favourites. Regarding my inspiration, it can be very random until two weeks before the show, that’s when I start to see real samples, that I can start to imagine a character/ person from film or music. I don’t know of many blogs except 10 magazine blog, which I help to edit and blog on. You should check it out, it’s very funny and always the best gossip and goings on.

The inspiration for your work has varied greatly over the past years. I would be very interested to know a bit about the process of choosing and developing the inspiration, and eventually translating it into the final collection. Good luck for the future! Shira
I can’t really give away too many of my secrets, but if I’m completely honest I always follow instincts and work to come up with something I love. As mentioned before, I love film and you can really relate to characters in film, how they dress, feel etc. Besides film I love art, music, anything that makes me think.

So excited about the Topshop collection, I would bet money on Christopher Kane becoming one of the great designers of our generation – only then I’d have less money to spend on his clothes!! I would be really interested in hearing from Christopher what his advice is on getting out there and known in the industry. The way he has risen to greatness so quickly but so deservedly is an inspiration to all hopeful designers like myself. Kathryn
I recommend getting experience as a studio intern, networking and most importantly working you’re a$$ off. Its all to do with hard work and being completely and utterly devoted to fashion, if you get a knock back don’t let it effect your confidence, remind yourself it is just one person’s opinion. Most people assume the fashion industry to be all parties and glamour, I would say it is 95% hard work, 5% parties, so it’s best always to have your feet firmly on the ground for those factory visits!

What is the Christopher Kane woman like, who is she? Thank you for your answer. Ina
I hope my customer is of all ages. I really have no preference, a good personality helps, and someone who obviously loves fashion and having fun, not talking herself too seriously. She’s strong, independent and very confident. I think my clothes appeal to girls /women who want to really feel special and stand out from the crowd when at a party or in the street. I like that people can identify my clothes straight away, it’s a huge compliment when that happens.

Even though everything is a bit ‘wow’ in your new collection, what is the one piece that every girl should own from the new range? Cheers. The Caledonista
From my new range I recommend some tartan cashmere or one of my multi-coloured ribbon dresses, especially Look 21. My Topshop range is really amazing, I think every piece is special and you should defiantly purchase my mirror sweat pants to wear with a suit jacket and high heels. And not forgetting the mesh all-over mirror dress that is seriously beautiful and very sexy.

Hi, just wanted to say how much I love your designs! I was wondering, what’s the best part of working in the fashion industry? Katie
I love backstage at my shows, just before the show. It’s an amazing feeling to know that you have produced something you can be proud of. Also seeing my clothes in magazines is a thrill. Travelling is a perk too and meeting and working with talented people like Donatella Versace.

Hello. May I start by saying how much I loved your SS09, it was to die for – seriously! Do you have an all time favourite piece? Zoe
It’s too hard to choose, I love all of my clothes. I’ll always adore my graduation lace and ring dresses. They mean so much to me; they started my career and remind me of my time at college. I can’t wait to revisit them one day.

What was is like studying at Central Saint Martins? Annabel
CSM is truly the best art school in the world, I loved it there. I met so many interesting people/ tutors. I’ll never forget those times. It could be tough though at times, but I loved the challenge, everyday was different, you never knew who you would bump into in the hallway. It really is a magical place.

I have so many questions but I will limit myself to just one: which fashion designer do you admire and who has provided you with the most influence? Merci beaucoup. Kirstie
I will always admire the work of Gianni Versace. He truly was a genius, his work always stood out and today it is continuously being copied. His last couture collection still astounds me. I am lucky today to work with Donatella, who is one of the most generous and talented designers today.

Christopher Kane for Topshop AW09 was released in Malaysia on 15 October 2009. Prices range from RM200 onwards. Snap it up at Topshop at The Pavilion only. More of what’s coming up at www.topshop.com. For more collection images, click here.