Christopher Kane interview part 2: On celebrity and working with Donatella Versace
Maybe it’s because he’s grounded and Scottish, maybe it’s because he’s a hard worker, but Christopher Kane seems to be comfortable in his skin as one of the UK’s most famous and exciting young designers, without getting swept away with his status and celebrity connections. (See part one of the interview for Christopher’s inspiration, style + J Brand collaboration).
Kane’s graduate collection, which he describes as a’ labour of love,’ still looks modern today, despite the fact he says it was made out of hosiery and socks ‘patch-worked together’ as he had no money as a student. Most importantly it got him noticed and four days later he was backstage with Donatella Versace.
He’s now designed for Versace’s sister line, Versus (started by Donatella) for three years, having been offered a job at the iconic design house just a week after graduating.
He described Donatella as: “one of those people like a magnet, with a great, colourful personality and sense of humour.”
This season’s Versus collection was unmistakably Kane and held in a place where the late great Gianni Versace showed many of his iconic collections. Christopher said: “there were lots of good fashion ghosts in that place”.
He currently splits his time between working for Donatella and flying to Italy every month with designing his own collection and said: “I love the sense of luxury of them brand but then also coming back to reality and working for myself. Working with Donatella I have to follow guidelines but she gets everything I do… being away at Versus can clear my mind and the two things work together.”
Donatella paid Christopher the ultimate compliment of comparing his talent to Gianni’s. What really came across in the interview was how incredibly humble Christopher is, despite his collections receiving rave reviews every season. He said the compliment made him feel “nervous,” adding: “I like to be me but I can’t say I wasn’t flattered – Gianni was a genius. Growing up in Scotland, he was one of the few designers I was attracted to.”
Christopher advised young designs to let go of criticism, toughen up and be polite, but joked that Donatella told him to be more diva-like!
When asked when he felt he had ‘made it,’ Christopher said he has had “lots of pinch-myself moments” but being featured in Vogue, meeting Donatella and seeing clothes on people who had bought them were defining moments.
Christopher Kane’s designs have attracted a lot of celebrity fans as well as glowing reviews and he seems to take pleasure from being appreciated by people he admires, whilst not losing sight of the fact those celebrities give his business a big boost.
“I like to build a relationship with celebrities- like Beth Ditto and Kylie Minogue. It does give you a confidence boost when you see your designs on the red carpet – but on people you admire,” he said.
But he hasn’t said no to any celebrity wearing his designs.
“It’s hard to say no because people can buy it anyway! You can’t be a snob and any press is good press. The brand visibility increases when a celebrity wears your clothes and people respond to that, it becomes more desirable- and the retailers love it!”
Christopher met legendary taste-maker Anna Wintour very early on in his glittering career and admitted to being “terrified”. Who wouldn’t be?!
He does however remember having a cup of tea with her and said that she’s “really supportive” and made him feel welcome. Bless.