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Sunday, February 22, 2009

London Fashion Week: Christopher Kane

Economic doom and gloom means self-justification is very much in vogue—cue spurious theories linking the shrinking economy with changing cuts and colors. In this spirit, fashion editors have even begun to embrace their role as critics and actually critique. (Although, ironically, the big advertisers seem to have had their best shows in years.) And so the predictable praise for Christopher Kane should be understood to mean a little more this year.

Kane's show started just fifteen minutes late, which in fashionland is waaaay early (ergo, the world's most nouveau fashionista, Kanye West, was left standing). The dedication to punctuality by one of London's biggest names indicates the level of professionalism at which Kane feels he needs to be operating. And while his status as yesterday's Next Big Thing is dangerous, his fall collection succeeded in elevating the designer beyond all that. He's even starting to grow out of his over-reliance on the party dress.

With the key trends already mapped out at the New York shows—most notably "classic" pieces in dark and neutral colors that supposedly everyone is going to want—Kane managed to work in his greatest strengths: cut, proportion and complexity. The result was a mixture of jackets, knitwear, tweed and lots of texture. Now there's a wardrobe change you can believe in.

Which isn't to say Kane's market doesn't have cravings. An abundance of cashmere, velvet, vinyl, geometric black detailing and a mix-and-match of metallics will quench any sartorial fixes that may crop up.

By Daryoush Haj-Najafi...

Christopher Kane

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