Christopher Kane has the Midas touch. Where he goes, fashion follows. And this season was no different. The Glaswegian has long been supported by the right people with both Anna Wintour and Donatella Versace counting themselves as mentors. In 2009, Donatella entrusted him with Versace's sister brand, Versus. Seven years, thirteen awards and 1,000 celebrity customers later, Kane sold a 51% stake of his business to Kering and panic ensued; would he stay true to his roots? Would the studio move from Dalston? Would it still be the Kane we all know and love? Of course he did stay true, and the collection the golden boy presented this afternoon will absolutely live up to the hype. Think The Secret Garden meets Twin Peaks with a Queen Elizabeth II style waterproof headscarf popped on top, and you're halfway there. For AW16, Kane’s woman appeared to be a kind of bonkers but fabulous aunty; eccentric, genteel, a good-time girl. Probably a hoarder, with maybe a manor or two to keep in order, who wouldn’t think twice about popping on her mink with her wellies to fetch the papers. In fact, the uniform could be entirely appropriate for a blustery English walk through the countryside, although we imagine it’ll more likely pop up at Hollywood’s biggest bashes and London’s reddest carpets; we spotted a good few peek-a-boo dresses! The first, rather sculptural camel coat belied the rest of the show’s kooky offering. It was a collection with textures-aplenty; sheepskins, furs, feathers, silks and plastics – a patchwork of finishes and tones that were reminiscent of the rainy English countryside. Corsages and ribbons messily arranged over striped dresses gave an exaggeratedly caught-in-the-wild-outdoors feel, while a dapper black trouser suit and a blood-orange fringed dress added a refined flapper feel.
Painted roses reminiscent of Alma-Tadema’s The Roses of Heliogabalus were printed onto sleeveless, floor-sweeping gowns worn with pointed bogies or feathered heels. Large army-green tweed coats and overblown grey shearlings were styled to appear both practical and louche. There were moments of sexiness; light laces peeked out from underneath brusquely painted, ragged silk dresses in primary colours, and red cut-away slip dresses were cut to the thigh. Then leather, leather everywhere in black leather trousers, black leather gloves, large black leather tote bags, leather dresses in nude and black, panelled with black lace to expose the skin. Models clutched car-boot worthy netted bags in bumble-bee yellows that had more than a touch of the bargain-hunter about them. No doubt though, the slogan letter 'K' jumpers in antique font will be the street-style crowd's choice of purchase. Somehow, Christopher Kane always manages to comfortably straddle both commercialism and artistic credibility, and his AW16 show was a perfect lesson in that balance. We’d bet our last Rolo every It-girl worth her salt will be channelling Lizzy after a few sherries at Balmoral come winter time.