Christopher Kane knows how to sell clothes. A company that has 26 employees and is worth an estimated 20 million euros seems like a pretty solid investment. It is not surprising then to hear that PPR the French multinational that owns Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci have just bought a majority stake in Christopher Kane. PPR have a habit of acquiring British labels like Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. These acquisitions allow brands to expand with increased distribution, large advertising budgets, a wider variety of product range and the opening of shops. Soon you will not just wear Christopher Kane, you will also smell of Christopher Kane, and will have Christopher Kane on your face.
So how did Kane stand out amongst the sea of British talent? His latest collection of menswear is a good example of Kane's business sense. Fashion obsessives may experience deja vu when looking at the above designs. Frankenstein's monster made an appearance in Kane's Spring 2013 womenswear collection and the Creature from the Blue Lagoon, Dracula and leopard print featured in his latest Pre-Fall collection.
Kane noticed that men were buying monster t-shirts from his womenswear range, so he capitalised off their success by giving men a range of their own. Risky but clever. It is the shape and size of a garment that genders a print. Take for example Prada's Fall 2012 optical prints. A defining womenswear trend for Fall 2012, Johnathan Saunders offered his own optical prints, but in his spectacular Fall 2012 menswear collection. It makes you wonder, as menswear is gaining prominence in fashion, will it soon share the runway with it's female equivalent? After all, it would save houses money as well as creating a harmonious brand identity.
Kane's latest menswear offering shares the hallmarks of streetwear. Brands like Rogue Status and Mishka perfected and popularised the pop culture, high resolution, digital print tee. Kane pairs these statement prints with gothic details. He borrows from classic goth with sharp shirt collars and a black coat cut to look like Dracula's cape. A muted leopard print is used on coats, tops and shorts. I imagine the print as a sophisticated reincarnation of the leopard print found on creepers, worn by 90s goths that wrote bad poetry, and revived by the Tumblr generations 90s nostalgia. Slim velvet trousers and embroidered velvet slippers continue the upmarket homage to 90s goth and contribute to my image of our 90s goth. His name is Viktor (real name Steve). He frequents a bar in which the air is thick with clove cigarette smoke and candles reflect in goblets of red wine. He writes poetry about blood stained kittens and broken mirrors...
Kane is clearly switched on to what the Tumblr kids are obsessing over and what London new media types will buy. By reusing old designs he risks being seen as overly commercial yet he is at the vanguard of British designers experimenting with menswear, closing the gap between what women and men wear. The collection is inoffensive yet interesting. Men who fear fashion can be comfortable in Kane's clothes. The only thing I fear is sickly sweet couples in matching Dracula t-shirts.