Let's talk about sex, baby. When designer Christopher Kane sent his AW18 collection down the catwalk back in February, he sparked conversation at a time – post-#MeToo, post-Time's Up – when talking about sex and sexuality felt tricky.
Inspired by The Joy of Sex: A Gourmet Guide to Lovemaking, an erotic manual first published in 1972, Kane's show explored varying notions of sex, from provocative fabrics like leather, lace and marabou feathers to the dress that rounded off the show, featuring an explicit line drawing from the manual.
"I first came across the book in my college library around 16 years ago," Kane tells Refinery29. "Years passed, and I have always looked into the world of human behaviour and science and nature as a source of reference. I have done so many collections based on sex: Resort 2014, Sex Education (SS14), life drawings made into lovers lace (AW15). My love of drawing made me remember the famous book that contains the most beautiful life studies by the artist Chris Foss of lovemaking. They serve a purpose and really educate you in the art of being a better lover."
While sex most certainly sells, the piece that has emerged triumphant from Kane's collection is his 'More Joy' slogan T-shirt. "I thought it was a very powerful statement, and it has surpassed its original connection to the sex manual," Kane explains. "It’s became my daily mantra. Don’t we all need a little More Joy in our lives?"
If Dior's We Should All Be Feminists tee ruled 2017, then Kane's rules 2018. Worn by everyone from off-duty models to Susie Lau and Julia Restoin Roitfeld, the joyful call-to-arms is a reflection of how we're all seeking a little more positivity. We asked the designer what and who brings him joy, and why we need it more than ever in 2018.
What has been the most joyful time in your life?
I’m generally a happy person. Showtime is always a real high, and after any show you feel so much relief and joy at the idea of closure and pride to have accomplished another collection.
What are three things that always bring you joy?
My family and friends. My dog, Bruce Tito. Working in the studio with my sister Tammy and an amazing team around me.
If we're struggling to find it, how can we experience more joy in our lives?
I think today we are so involved in everyone else's business, thanks to social media opening our eyes to others, that we need to focus on ourselves more and stop comparing ourselves to everyone. I also find travelling to other parts of the world, especially places that have a completely opposite way of life to me, helps to really ground me and prove how lucky I am.
Which song or album brings you joy?
I really love the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, and her version of "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" is truly a remarkable song and it gets me every time.
What is something that brings you joy but shouldn't?
Lots of things, but at the moment I’m enjoying being back in the gym and working out. Endorphins from the workouts are giving me a new lease of life.
How does fashion bring you joy?
Fashion is full of surprises so it always keeps me on my toes – that's the fun part.