“I have never shied away from sex in the collections – and this one is no different,” said Christopher Kane about his Autumn/Winter 2018 show, staged on Monday afternoon. And indeed, the designer has explored the issue and its many themes since his debut. But while sex has long been associated with fashion, in today’s #MeToo times the subject is now a controversial one, so while the designer was determinedly staying true to his career narrative, it was also a potentially sensitive line to tread.
Despite citing illustrations from ‘The Joy of Sex’ and ‘More Joy of Sex’ as inspiration, the manuals of positions and techniques by Chris Foss and Charles Raymond, this was a collection that celebrated the joy and beauty of sex, rather than the act itself, and explored how women use clothes to empower themselves.
Power came in the form of sleek black leathers, raw wools and regal crushed velvets, as well as in certain silhouettes, with armour-like sleeves and rounded shoulders a feature of cotton canvas coats and jackets, and grey woollen cover-ups.
But it was the beauty aspect of the collection that undoubtedly produced the most statement-making looks, with the predominantly dark color palette brought to life with shimmering metallics. Diamanté-fringed mini dresses, crystal embellished sweater dresses and skirts and even Swarovski fringing swinging from coat lapels alluded to an extravagant sense of strength.
And while there were more overt references to the overriding theme, in the form of marabou feather trims and oversized silver zips, the use of typically sexually charged sheer fabrics and black and red lace were also largely confined to accents. Overall, it was a grown up collection that clearly celebrated the sensual rather than the scandalous.