Heartfelt Nostalgia Vs. Catholic Guilt at Christopher Kane

Pin It

We examine the woman behind Christopher Kane's S/S17 collection, where Make-Do and Mend met contemporary craftwork

TextOlivia SingerIllustrationAhmad Swaid

“From the very beginning, ten years ago, I’d use anything: stockings in the market, nicked things – nothing that I shouldn’t have – so that’s why I always had this ethos of make it work,” Christopher Kane told Suzy Menkes immediately after his S/S17 fashion show – and such resourcefulness was wonderfully visible throughout the collection: a self-proclaimed update on the post-war ethos of Make-Do and Mend. Devotional charms of the sort you find hawked outside celebrated cathedrals (here, they paid homage to the Carfin Grotto) became crafty necklaces, or hung in abundance from T-shirts; various garments sutured together with keyrings; handkerchiefs bearing scrapbook polaroids of past collections came stapled to dresses with metal rivets. 1960s florals were applied to 1940s furs, and the lacy bodycon of his own early years met the fraying threads of recent seasons. It was that perfect medley of era-erraticness and refined aesthetic dishevelment that Kane has honed so beautifully over the past decade, but with overtones of Catholic guilt and Mrs McNab rather than Siouxie Sioux or Vivienne Westwood: more earnest than aggressive, more heartfelt than riotous.