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Suzy Menkes

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.

Christopher Kane: Outsider Art

22 Сентября 2015


From high up on the 35th floor in London's Sky Garden, the view of the city was filtered through mist and rain.

"I don't care — I like the gloom," said Christopher Kane, who has survived a personal annus horribilis. First there was the sudden death of Louis Wilson, his mentor and teacher at Central Saint Martins, then he and his fashion partner-sister Tammy's mother passed away on the eve of the opening of his first store.


All he could think of was tackling life's struggles head on and battling through.

And he did that brilliantly for this show — with eye-popping colour and a spirit of make-do and mend by using plastic in all of its cheap and cheerful connotations; putting the torn pieces back together again.


Of course, being the deeply original designer that he is, there was far more to his story than met the eye. Sweaters with chaotic stitching were reminiscent of Outsider Art, such as the highly detailed work of Scottie Wilson (a fellow Scot).

Then there was the inspiration of the artistic car crashes from American sculptor John Chamberlain, whose creations using crushed automobile parts are done in pop colours, just like the Kane clothes.


The designer, after two quiet seasons, seemed to have leapt back into his earlier world of sexual undertones, latent horror and fabrics suggestive of sticky tape or bondage.

In this summer 2016 collection a coat might be ripped, a dress torn open or a skirt reduced to carwash strips or silken fringes. But all of this was done in dazzling, upbeat shades, as in an orange lace coat over a shocking pink and fluorescent dress, plus a child-like pink plastic bag. The colours went right down to shoes that were done as fabric patchworks.


The mix of artistic primitivism with a crash-and-repair sensibility worked in lace X-raying the body or with flesh showing between silk festoons — all adding up to an explosive show. It followed many of Kane's earlier ideas but was done with great finesse, making for an exceptional fashion moment.


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