"The brain works in mysterious ways," said Christopher Kane following his show - the stand out collection of the London season so far. This was the designer's first outing since he entered into partnership with French luxury goods conglomerate PPR (Pinault Printemps La Redoute) earlier this year, following in the footsteps of Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen and with a view to expanding his relatively small business into a globally recognised brand.
Fashion's great and good queued up to congratulate him backstage, including the diminutive Salma Hayek, wife of PPR CEO Francois-Henri Pinault. And all in attendance had every reason to do so.
Here were sassy silk camouflage print separates - the jacket sack backed and with a broad, dropped shoulder, the kilt short and sharply pleated with glossy patent and metal fastenings. Later came the same motif in tufted patchwork: it looked great on an oversized coat. More delicate were intricate embroidered dresses that outlined the anatomy of the women wearing them. Kane called it "six pack lace" and in warm autumnal hues the end result was as feminine as it was fierce.
This was a much larger collection than the designer has shown to date. Feather and fur trim added a couture element to utilitarian wool tailoring; appliqued flowers in deadly nightshade hues densely covered surfaces. The final sequence of looks bouncing with twinkling pom poms and sprouting crystal fringing were as technologically pioneering as they were pretty and uplifting.
Kane said that the sheer scale of the proceedings was not necessarily a result of new backing although given the nature of at least some of the fabrications it might conceivably have been seen that way. Instead: "I just wanted to do a really beautiful show," he said. And that it most certainly was.
*Please bear with our blurry catwalk pics - better ones to follow very soon!*