Christopher Kane and Paula Reed in conversation
Last night hundreds of fashion fans descended on the Apple store in London’s Covent Garden, pushing aside the iPhone 5 techy geeks, in order to get up close and personal with everyone’s favourite designer Christopher Kane. In conversation with Grazia’s very own Style Director, Paula Reed, in the computer giant’s first Meet the Designer, Christopher revealed the highs and lows of his five year career so far (I know, just five years, doesn’t it feel like so much longer. In a good way obviously!). Admitting he was nervous before taking to the stage, the 29 year old Scot soon relaxed as he realised that the audience would hang off his every word regardless! Plus he had the stories to tell.
Christopher Kane Spring Summer 2012
Creating his graduation collection out of socks, hosiery and lingerie as a labour of love, because he had no money, which he admitted wasn’t to everyone’s taste; ‘I know that lots of people didn’t like that collection when I was doing it,’ he remembered. ‘But I didn’t care, I just wanted to stay true to what I believed and knew it was the right thing. It worked out in the end.’ Didn’t it just, three hours later he was in Anna Wintour’s hotel room (‘that’s very forward of you!’ Paula joked), drinking a cup of tea and showing his collection on models – ‘it was like an out of body experience.’ Anna has been a huge supporter of him ever since, as well as his MA tutor Louise Wilson, who he counts as a great friend – ‘she’s the harshest critic, but amazing.’ Of course, the Christopher Kane brand is very much a two man show, and last night sister Tammy was supporting him from the sidelines. ‘She’s my best friend as well as my sister,’ he fondly revealed. ‘When we were growing up we rarely left the house without each other. I don’t know how other people do it, but I can really rely on her as we almost have a psychic connection.’ It’s difficult to get to grips with how the working relationship works, but regardless of significant others, they are very much a pair which is lovely to see – before the talk, tammy was teasing him about being nervous, but immediately following it with ‘you’re brilliant at this, I don’t know why you’re so worried.’
Versus Spring Summer 2012
The conversation soon turned to Versace, as Christopher is also the creative director of Versus, and has worked with Donatella for years. ‘She is one of the funniest people you will ever meet!’ Growing up outside Motherwell, he was obsessed with Gianni Versace, and now having access to the Versace archives is something he still can’t get over. ‘Tammy and I were dumbstruck, everything is wrapped in tissue like treasures, which is totally what they are.’ And while everyone knows Christopher to be one of the most charming and well-mannered working designers, Donatella told him ‘you should be more of a diva!’ Thankfully, judging by last night, he isn’t listening too closely to that!
Donatella Versace and Christopher Kane at the Versus Spring Summer 2012 show
Even after hundreds of stockists, glowing reviews, fans in every corner of the world, a household name everywhere, Christopher is as down to earth now as he was when we first met him as a student at St Martins. So when one super-fan in the audience asked ‘when did you know you had made it?’ we were expecting a very modest answer. He cited meeting Donatella as a special moment, and seeing people wearing his clothes, but it was on a night out when he seemed to ‘get’ it. ‘I was at a party and there was this girl rolling about on a dirty mattress in a £3000 dress of mine,’ and as someone who admits to ‘keeping things for best’, when he saw her writhing without a care for the price of the dress he thought ‘God, I’ve made it!’
For those that missed the chat, tut tut, the whole conversation will be posted as a podcast live on Grazia Daily next week, as well as being available to download from iTunes. PLUS, don't forget to check out Tuesday's issue of Grazia for an exclusive first look at Christopher Kane's exciting collaboration with J Brand!
By Kay Barron