Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.
Lost and found at fashion's highest level
23 Февраля 2016
To suggest that fashion could be considered as “outsider art” sounds ridiculous. Hasn't the entire British fashion success story been built on students training in the fine schools of art and design?
Yet Christopher Kane, so prized as a designer that he was backed by the Kering luxury group and brought into the fold of high fashion, had this to say about his powerful collection where hats looked like made-over plastic bags and a coat was apparently made from a corrugated cardboard box. (The former was, in fact, designed by super milliner Stephen Jones; the coat made from leather.)
“There is an idea of beauty expired - but that dead and thrown-away beauty often looks better than when it was supposedly alive,” Christopher Kane said. The designer also admitted that he had always been obsessed with recluses and the concept of the outsider hoarding things away.
His fashion vision must be the most glamorous “lost and found”, since John Galliano's “hobo” Spring/Summer 2000 collection for Dior that caused such shock and horror. But there was not an ounce of rage or politics in Kane's beautiful and startlingly original collection.
The chaos theory of fashion has never looked as desirable as in feathers blowing wildly down sleeves or standing as a single plume rising perkily on a shoe. From the magpie collection of random decorations, this “bag lady” carried cute clutches and might throw a silver fox stole over a black lace dress with a semi-visible rear view.
Kane makes the perfect lost-and-found scavenger because he has exquisite taste and the backing of his boss Francois-Henri Pinault, who sat front row. To prove the designer's “establishment” status, Samantha Cameron, the wife of British Prime Minister David Cameron was also at the show. But Kane's great skill is creating a new fashion position between outsider and the establishment. Some of the most appealing of his outfits were cunning combinations of tradition and novelty, as in lining mink with reflective fabrics and felting Chantilly lace to make it look old and faded.
Many of these faux “ordinary” looks follow a similar path to Martin Margiela's take in the past and what fashion darlings Vetements do now: upgrading the ordinary. But Kane is different. He has the imagination, the skill and the understanding to use high-end tools to create clothes that look as modern as anything on the international runways.
He understands quality but upends its stuffiness. Add the sexual beat that drums through the oddity of his clothes and you get one of the leading fashion spirits of modern times.
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