“I am always interested in taking the everyday and looking at it in a new way,” says Christopher Kane. “This season’s men’s collection also has that element. We were looking at cop shows and police identification techniques, looking at the graphics associated with them. At the same time, I like more ‘domestic’ graphics such as gingham and traditional checks – I come back to them again and again. They contrast, but are still complementary because of their strong lines. In many ways the collection is a reflection of what I grew up with; that clean, pristine, washed and ironed sportswear way of dressing – the casual kids in Glasgow – mixed with that world of TV: Crimewatch and Casual.”
Making the invisible visible could be seen as one of the driving forces behind the Spring-Summer Christopher Kane Menswear collection. From highlighting the strengths of everyday graphics such as traditional gingham and checks – here, quite literally highlighted through the interwoven mix of reflective thread – to the police procedural and firing range targets that are an inspiration for bold graphic illustrations and patterns, the themes of detection and investigation extend to the making of the clothing itself.
Utilising advanced experiments in fabric technique and finishes, liquid nylon, Panama wool, techno twill and techno hopsack are all used in force to underline the clothing’s practical point as much as its aesthetic appeal. Waterproofing, breathability and environmental sustainability are all part of the collection’s purpose. At the same time, while form often follows this practical function, the clothing is not afraid to display its own aesthetic flourishes, transforming urban camouflage into outright statement.
‘Thermal imaging’ is converted from covert surveillance technique to psychedelic flower enhancement, transforming the humble pansy – the symbol of freethinking – into something at once pretty and perverse. Both confrontational and disruptive, the pansy is blown-up on intarsia knits, made delicate on chiffon shirting, or completely contrasted on masculine technical outerwear.
Altogether, the collection embraces the hard and soft, pretty and perverse, order and disorder of a British masculine identity through clothing. At once playing with contrasting silhouettes and connotations, while celebrating everyday streetwear and the supreme skill needed in making technical, utilitarian clothing of the highest order.