Christopher Kane interview part 1: J-Brand collaboration, inspiration + signature style

Christopher Kane’s resume reads like something from a fashion fairytale and with all his success it’s easy to forget that he’s not even 30 yet!  And now he’s about to conquer the world of jeans with J-Brand no less.

Christopher first put denim on the runway in S/S 08 as well as this season, which is handy as his collaborative J-Brand collection launches this January.

As a jeans devotee I’m sooo happy about this. Christopher said there will be “beautiful dressed-up vintage washed jeans- a new way to dress up at night.” – Yay – no more dresses to get chilly in on a winter’s night out!

He added that he wanted to enter the denim market and the collaboration is a great way of doing that. We’re especially excited that he has promised Kane-signature style “uber bright” jeans.

Speaking at the Apple store in Covent Garden last night (with Paula Reed from Grazia doing the interviewing), we got a real insight into the crazy ride that Kane has been on in recent years – and how hard he works – he really does seem like the nicest man in fashion, despite the fact he now dresses celebs and works with fashion icon Donatella Versace (see part two of the interview!)

The man himself

On his signature style

It seems strange that Christopher is so young when his collections are so memorable and different from each other – how many trends has this man created in his short career?!

Take this season’s ‘gel’ dresses and bags – they’re in pretty much every magazine. He described the dresses as “dreamlike, that just became a reality”. We’ve always wondered whether Christopher was inspired by those gel pencil cases that were all the rage and he confirmed it was true – “pencil cases and the things you had at school”.

The must-have bag

As for S/S 12, he jokingly described his flip-flops as ‘controversial’ and remarked that you really can run in them. Apparently the models glided very slowly down super-long runway and had to run back, clomping up the stairs to walk again for the
finale. “I got so fed up of heels and these are more grounded,” Christopher added.

Behold the flip flop!

He cited his inspirations as Gianni Versace and Helmut Lang in the 90s, as well as his own experience. “It doesn’t define me being Scottish but it does inspire me – particularly growing up there,” he said.

Having lived in London for 11 years it’s no surprise that he’s a fan of the city.

“There’s beauty in different aspects of London and Londoners don’t follow the rules or stereotypes. There’s a real energy that’s unique. Every designer around the world takes ideas from London,” he added.

On whether he has a signature style, Christopher said: “I love to change and evolve – what else should I do? I get bored and enjoy working with new fabrics and people. Textiles define a piece of clothing and it’s great to have your own piece of fabric [researched and developed] that no-one else has.”

On the future

It struck me that Christopher takes real pleasure in his work and is truly excited and proud of what he does. Looking back at images of past collection, he remarked “I liked that one” and has a quiet confidence about him.

With worries that the fashion week schedules, which currently clash, will not be resolved, Christopher simply said: “It has to work … they’ll have to sort itout”.  He is in the dubious position of showing his own collection at LFW and Versus in Italy so we hope he’s right!

When asked about whether he’d do a Chanel and have a huge elaborate set, he said: “I’m not really like that as a person. For me, it’s about the clothing, models and atmosphere … I have enough to do with 2 collections anyway! This season we had a sea of models and a long runway and that was scenery in itself.”

While he gave nothing away about his new work, he did say that neon is something he will always re-visit and did not rule out any more high street collaborations. We can’t wait for Donatella’s Versace for H&M collection and while Christopher said he is loyal to Topshop (He has done three collections for its NewGen initiative) he seems to be keeping his options open.

Read Part 2 – celebrities and Donatella Versace here!

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