IN CONVERSATION WITH… CHRISTOPHER KANE

 
 
 

Fun, off-kilter and elegant, Christopher Kane is a designer who covers a lot of bases. We caught up with the inimitable designer ahead of London Fashion Week - and his 10-year anniversary - to talk beginnings, heartbreak and keeping things in the family…

ON HOW IT ALL BEGAN…

I studied at CSM for 6 years, starting with a foundation in Fine Art and going on to both the BA and MA courses in fashion design, where I met Professor Louise Wilson. She was fundamental in helping shape my way of thinking and ambitions. Then Sarah Mower spotted my work during an MA competition and from there, Sarah introduced me to Anna Wintour. A few days later I was backstage meeting Donatella Versace, and worked with her on a consultancy basis and then worked with her at Versus. I learnt so much there, it was great to see how a house like Versace operates.


ON GROWING UP AROUND WOMEN

I grew up around strong women and have always been inspired by them, their confidence and individuality. There were so many characters/families in the area that I grew up in that I still think about in terms of references, that’s why Tammy and I work so well together because she gets it.


I never think of any one person or muse when designing but I’m always inspired by the strength of character and essence of women I’ve had in my life.  I am just not that type of designer who really relies on that muse and has that dictate the collections; I like to be free so that the character can grow along with the collections. When I do get to the point of having someone in mind it’s always the same type of girl; strong, confident, intelligent, she knows that she wants to look individual.


ON GLASGOW

The landscape of my childhood and my upbringing outside of Glasgow have certainly had an influence on my work. I love that I can call on certain characters from my childhood as a source of inspiration, but, most importantly it is the strong work ethic that was instilled in me by my family, from a very young age, that I am grateful for. I was raised knowing that in order to succeed you have to work hard and fight for what you want and believe in.

ON LONDON

London has been my home since I was 18 and had a great time in the city as a student. There was always great clubs to go to and interesting people to meet. London just feels so right for me. No matter where I travel I always look forward to coming home.


I live and work in Dalston, so spend most of my time in East London. I love the mix of cultures you find here, where you have everything from great markets to bars and restaurants.  I go for lunch at Dalston Superstore, drinks at Glory, Shoreditch House for Sunday lunches… there are so many great little places popping up all over the East End and Stoke Newington. I also love going into the West End for theatre and dinner. What I love about London is that a short cab ride can take you to a very different place.


ON AN ‘AVERAGE’ WORK DAY

I wake up and go to work. It can feel like a lot of pressure but as we build the business and have more staff, it allows me to focus my time and energy. My day is filled with a combination of sketching, fittings and lots of meetings. I love the days when I can just work with my close team and fit model and be creative.


ON BALANCING WORK & LIFE

Most days are really busy, in the evenings I like to hang out with my boyfriend and friends or lounge at home.  My downtime is sacred, I like to watch TV & go out to dinner…


ON THE BEST ADVICE HE’S EVER BEEN GIVEN

My mum used to always have the best advice, she was known for saying … 'What's for you won't go past you'… I'm a big believer in fate and what’s meant to be. So if things don’t work out as you planned, I always think of my mum saying this…

 


ON THE WOMEN WHO WEAR HIS CLOTHES

I want to create clothing that seduces and empowers women, whether it be a lace dress or a sweatshirt. I always want my product to stand out for its creativity and point of view whilst remaining wearable. Our customer is daring, creative and an original thinker. It's about a certain attitude rather than boundaries of age. She’s confident and playful, and really loves fashion.

Recently I was at an event and there was this French woman, she must have been around 60 and she was head to toe in my early work, she was so chic and it really made my night, the way she balanced the different collections and layered them up. It was really great to see.


ON HIS STARTING POINTS FOR RESORT

I had just lost my mother in February and to say I was consumed by a broken heart was an understatement, so I used it as inspiration. Also It felt right to continue the lovers lace theme from AW15; it was a natural progression… The love heart seems so simple and pure, almost child-like, but powerful and graphic. Looking at the heart through history, researching its roots in Quaker embroidery, led to looking at the scientific side of the heart and the idea of ‘suturing’. So there are those two sides to this collection; something romantic and pure, almost ‘church girl’ with those pastels, mixed with a powerful ‘killer red’ and an idea of something seductive but also disturbing.


ON THE LAST 10 YEARS

I feel really proud of my archive, I am very protective of it. For the past ten
years I have continually experimented with ideas, pushed perceptions, fabrics, techniques… all of those experiences have allowed me to evolve as a designer, fundamentally though I haven't changed, I am still curious and interested in new things.

 

 
 
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