Christopher Kane Pre-Fall 2023


Buckle up! Christopher Kane’s spicy-chic pre-fall collection is heading this way. The incendiary devices he makes in the form of clothes always sound almost innocently pragmatic when he talks about them. “We got a buckle from a supplier and started to play with it,” he remarked, quite nonchalantly, in his East London studio. And there they were: broad, buckled straps bound around the shoulders, necks, and hemlines of mini-shifts and coats. In one case they formed the entire upper body of a dress. “Extreme, but clean,” he added.

Bondage and fetish might be the words we’d automatically reach for here, but not so fast. To Kane, the heavy-duty strapping, combined with reflective yellow, neon green, and orange fabric is more bound up with “uniforms, security, police women, and school lolly-pop ladies.” (British for school-crossing marshals.) Needless to say, the results are miles away from utility or street-wear, yet (excuse the pun) highly arresting in all manner of other ways.

Heart-racing visual impact is quite literally Christopher Kane’s great party-trick. This season he’s devised it with circular cutouts as well as straps and buckles. Circles roll through the naked waist of a long black column, and then wickedly expose two half-moons of flesh above a built-in bra. These two are clearly sisters of the slick, black latex ‘Bat-dress’ that Kane memorably custom-made for Tommy Dorfman at last year’s Met Gala. Another near relation has manifested in the spirit of Wednesday Addams for pre-fall: long, black, off-the shoulder, with a bandeau-buckle neckline and sleeves filled in with lace.

Kane points out that the collection will start dropping in April, so he’s also found room for “clothes to wear to weddings, cocktail parties, the things you need for summer.” There are little white dresses decorated with hand-drawn micro-flowers, patchworked from organic-shaped “blobs.” Flounced skirts in highlighter orange or lime have hems which can either be buttoned up in front, or left long. All-in-all, it’s a collection that covers a lot of bases, yet still looks inimitably Christopher Kane. By now, he’s accumulated a big playbook to draw on. Not forgetting the slinky chainmail mini disco-dresses that are where he began. They’re here, present and correct and just as relevant now, only this time, buckled on at hip and shoulder with those big, black straps.

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