Christopher Kane has been making quite the name for himself recently – gone are the days of small capsule collections with online retailers like SSENSE and Net-A-Porter. Since partnering with the French luxury goods conglomerate Kering, he has already established his own flagship store. But his greatest selling point, and what helped launch his label, is his utter devotion to each season’s motifs. His entire collection rests upon one singular motif, whether it be classic horror icons or vaporware styled robotic heads. This season was no different.
The initial looks were quite tame. Like many other designers, a large amount of inspiration came from the work we have seen by Raf Simons in his Dior collections. We also saw the use of a Jil Sander-esque suit in satin fabric with color blocked lapels paired with a fragmented floral pattern.
Kane slowly introduced the concept of overt romanticism with Victorian silhouettes that, while quite tame, allowed for a great segue to the sheer ruffled looks later on in the collection. The silhouettes become far looser at the sleeve, with flowing ruffles and exotic materials like snakeskin and shearling. Colors likewise become far more dominant, as he edged to pair a sheer almost nude color with rich royal blue stitches, forming the shape of naked bodies.
The show reached its climax to become one his more risqué collections to date. Anatomically correct applique bodies were placed over traditional satin mac jackets and flared evening dresses, giving off the impression of two lovers locked in a sexual embrace.
The final looks ended with the feet of the lace figures draping down the legs of the model, swaying with movement and emotion. While it may not be everyone’s fancy, this inherent risk taking is what makes these runway collections really shine.
Jonathan Saunders has always been a heavy hitter in the fashion world, having been drafted to work with fashion greats, like Alexander McQueen and Christian Lacroix of Emilio Pucci. He is also a graduate from the esteemed design school, Central Saint Martins. We see this background come to play in his newest collection, which played on the television identity of the British pop scene of the 60s.
Saunders, like most designers, was playing with vintage 60s and 70s motifs. But much like his menswear counterpart, Paul Smith, Saunders did so in a fresh and exciting way. His collection did not take itself as seriously as other fashion houses like Chanel or Saint Laurent Paris did in their vintage reproductions. He simply played on idealized patterns of the era.
His target was the stereotypical 60s aesthetic, with over the knee go-go boots and cat eye sunglasses. The glasses came in primary color tortoiseshell and were paired with flared arm day dresses in cloud band patterns.
The European grounding clearly came from the British racing heritage stripes, which were prevalent across the front and sides of day dresses, as well as the color renditions of classic British menswear patterns. The collection did seem far better suited for a Spring/Summer season, with very little addition of outerwear, which is likely the only flaw of the entire collection.
As far as under-appreciated designers go, David Koma might just top the list. While his techno dresses are available on major online retailers like Luisaviaroma, he seemed strongly absent from the London fashion buzz.
This season’s collection strayed far from some of the absurdities seen with other designers. Koma decided to keep his collection simple with an easy blush and black combination that really hit its mark. While the collection had little, if any, frills aside from solid colors and fishnet overlays, it shined with its pure and clean aesthetic.
The Victorian flared sleeves hit at the perfect position on the arm and the belting details worked well to supplement the plain space rampant throughout each look. While an addition of another pattern or textural element would have been nice, the collection still worked without the visual noise.