Cleanliness Doesn't Necessarily Mean Pure Christopher Kane at LFW SS18

"It's about the perfect wife with a cleaning habit," recalled Christopher Kane in his Shacklewell Lane studio days before presenting his Spring 2018 collection. Cleanliness doesn't necessarily mean pure when it comes to Kane, who's collections have often had a perverted side to them, the orgy that was "Lover's Lace" and sex education that was the "Anatomy of a Flower" spring to mind. Christopher comes from a strict catholic family, in which guilt and sin were taught to him from a very young age. He always used to draw nude bodies, "penises and vaginas and boobies" were Kane's exact words in a interview with Tim Blanks for The Business of Fashion. So it comes as no surprise that amongst his moodboard images that consisted of duster cloths, mop-heads, and trash bags, were also photocopies of the biography of Cynthia Payne, the South London brothel keeper famously busted for entertaining the likes of "respectable" Members of Parliament, solicitors, vicars and other gents during the 1980's. It was all behind the sneaky-clean front of a suburban terraced house in Streatham, middle-aged men dressed in suits would line-up outside before being pleasured in one of the upstairs bedrooms and being offered afternoon tea and cake in the front sitting room afterwards. A national tabloid sensation and who's "squeaky-clean" frontage just screams out the defilement of this Christopher Kane collection.

The collection opened with a number of floral wallpaper looks that didn't reveal too much, other than a retreat to domestic life, as it has a few times this season. This was much kinkier. Masculine tailoring with wide satin lapels which would suggest the type of client Cynthia Payne might have come across. PVC clashed with Neo-Victoriana, welcome to the Christopher Kane world of suburban sex clubs and soft-core fetishes. Peek through the double-glazed windows and net curtains of this terrace house and you'll discover "a domestic goddess I suppose, a really amazing strong character, perfect and breaking down inside. There's always a dark secret."

The wipe clean, dominatrix nature of a black patent leather coat, avoided any form of vulgarity when crisp-white doilies transformed the collar and cuffs. It had overtones of a French maid uniform. Shower curtains were turned into car coats with exquisite jewelled buttons and skirts worn with loosely-knitted "scouring pad" jumpers. Whilst elasticated leather acted as a replacement for bin bags, complete with yellow streamers as ribbon fasteners, a semi-sheer lace panel resulted in the classier act of "get ya tits out!" translucent like those of a bathroom window or shower door. "There's always a pervy touch" said the designer. Washing-line pegs may have held overcoats closed and loose-fitting dresses in shape, however the whole time one couldn't help but think of nipple clamps. Never has a devil on one shoulder, angel on the other felt more relevant than with Spring/Summer 2018 for Kane.

The soundtrack featured the mounting noises of vacuuming, flushing and spin-scale washing machine, no household item was left unturned. Both the frenetic activity of cleaning to a point of obsessiveness, "I am quite OCD. I'm not turning the light switch off ten times, but I'm very clean and the smell of bleach is always a constant." This isn't Kane's vision for cleanliness, this is simply Christopher Kane's vision for a polite, plastic cover for filth, from perhaps fashion's biggest erotic. Suspended yellow dusters acted as diamond-shaped ruffles, pink scouring pads - sparkly sweatshirts, they'll be a sure commercial success, as will the t-shirts that featured snapshots of girl's underwear by artist John Kavere, subtle yet provocative is all what Christopher Kane is about. The fringing of humble mop-heads were attached to pointed ankle boots and collaboration with Crocs seen him embellish the ugly, yet practical rubber sandals with crystals. Kane is a fan of elevating the mundane.

Images courtesy of Vogue Runway and 10 Magazine

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