When a talented, visionary designer gets some support from a big luxury house, one of two things can happen: Commerce can overtake creativity all but pushing the artist out of the process, or craft reigns supreme taking the insurgence of cash to really deliver next-level goods. When it comes to Christopher Kane and Kering, it looks like a case of the latter.
The strongest evidence of the symbiosis came in the form of the bags in Kane's fall '14 collection. His previous forays into handbags were unforgettable, if a little impractical — remember those Trapper-Keeper-esque gak-filled plastic sacks, or the perforated, neon-lace clutches? But, with Kering's guiding hand, Kane's newest accessories are a bit more grown up. Able to hold more than just your phone and a pen, the eight new styles bore utilitarian shapes, like totes, shoulder bags, and vintage-looking box frames. Each features a safety buckle that's been part of the Christopher Kane bag of tricks since spring '07. Kooky and zany? Sure, but these carryalls are still more suited to the office than the schoolyard, which is probably what you're looking for when you drop hundreds on a handbag.
As for the rest of the collection — the clothes, if you will — there were plenty of Kane's madcap design quirks (science museum botanicals, plasticky layers, mille-feuille ruffles) supplemented by a healthy dose of realism. Think: trash-bag puffers, thick overcoats, and perfectly wide trousers. It was a mix of pieces you'll want to hang in your closet forever, and some that you'll literally have a hard time figuring out how to hang. Click through for a closer look at three of the new handbags, and keep going for the rest of the collection. Then, let us know what you think of the Kane's toned-down aesthetic.