This might be the season of “sexy”, but nobody does sex in fashion like Christopher Kane. Never vulgar, but always elusive, enigmatic, multi-faceted and exciting. For spring-summer 2022, the designer shot a show in a darkened London warehouse a couple of months ago and released in the middle of Paris Fashion Week. It opens with strong, black patent: straight to the point of a furious kind of erotic chic. Kane girls don’t necessarily want to serve things up on a plate: his talent is for designing ways that play wickedly with all kinds of covert suggestions. Right through the collection there are devices for revealing skin – necklines in little black dresses that hint at fetish but are banded with protective metal; unconventional slits or port-holes in otherwise perfectly proper, covered-up dresses; a sporty crystal mesh miniskirt with a zippered slit. Kane experiments with form, too – and that leads to all kinds of modern-looking techniques. One this season is his play with corrugated shapes – like a scarlet bra top and matching skirt armored with zig-zaggy 3D geometric frills. The thing is, you never quite know where Kane’s references come from – but his career-long insistence on short, leggy going-out dresses means a glut of choices for original-minded girls who are finally, finally out and about at parties and whatnot. One of the inspirations he did allude to is the life of ’50s sex-bomb Jayne Mansfield. She of the overspilling breast – a controversial star who blatantly flaunted her sexuality and incredible body at a time when all that was highly disapproved of. You glimpse her energy behind a diaphanous dress with a pink satin bra formed into sharp geometric satin points: provocative, yes, but also armored with self-confidence.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.