The clothes were cleared off the racks of Christopher Kane's Mount Street boutique in London on Wednesday, where guests (including François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering) took a brief respite from the back-to-back events hosted by Dior and Gucci this week to see what Kane has in store for the resort 2017 season.
In idea and execution, Kane's off-season collections are as strong as the ones he presents twice a year at London Fashion Week, though more concentrated in scope. After last season's gothic exploration of reclusive hoarders, Kane took hold of a symbol of lightness, renewal and free-thinking: the modest garden pansy. "The pansy seems so simple, so everyday; it just came into my head to use it as the basis for a collection," Kane said in his show notes, pointing to its "purity of shape" and its "freshness."
Kane blew up photos of the flower to hyper-real proportions and printed them onto silk, using their natural edges to create fantastically organic shapes — the petals forming a soft, full shoulder on a dress, or layered one over the other to create a gently fanning skirt. Elsewhere, they peeked through curvaceous cutouts on gingham-print dresses, tunics and crop-flare trousers. The sense of youthful innocence that pervaded the collection was further underscored by sequined skirts and iridescent leather designed to give, in Kane's words, "a Disney-like, animated sheen and lightness."
Since Kering took ownership of Kane's label in early 2013, the designer has been steadily building out his accessories offering, focusing primarily on a line of bags with signature seat-buckle clasps that haven't yet posed any formidable competition to the category. But the cropped, wellie-like boots, picked out in primary colors and printed with pansies, looked promising, as did pointed-toe loafers in metallic leather. You could see stylists (and certainly a number of clients) oohing over the pansy-embroidered leather gloves, but the bags, however, still left something to be desired. Thank goodness for the excellent clothes.