London Fashion Week: Christopher Kane spring/summer 2012
If anyone's able to get women back in flat shoes, it's Christopher Kane.
Sometimes a designer must resort to extreme measures to get attention. Christopher Kane's went as extreme as London Fashion Week gets yesterday, when he sent A Comfortable Shoe out onto his catwalk.
It's so long since the fashion fraternity has seen a flat, cushioned, sensible sole that initial reactions assumed this was a rogue pitch invader. But no, every shoe came that way; beaded, sparkly - and with adjustable straps.
Backstage Kane denied they were a come-and-get-me call to the people who make Fit-Flops, insisting the decision to re-ground his models was purely aesthetic. "An ultra-high heel, especially with a mini skirt just looks so old now," he said.
Samantha Cameron, back in the front row, in her role as ambassador for London Fashion week after a weekend at Chequers, looked on intently. As well she might - the fashion desk noted that at the Royal Wedding, she appeared to kick off her Aldo platforms as soon as she was safely ensconced in a pew. At one point during the service she visibly sank several inches compared with her husband.
MIllions more will also be monitoring the shoe situation. Although not yet a household name outside the fashion belt, the 29-year-old Scottish born Kane is one of a handful of designers in the world who can influence the way women dress. He was largely responsible for the revival in body-con dressing which has seen everyone from Rihanna to thousands of year twelves tottering around in tourniquet-tight dresses.
Soon they will be striding like amazons. Or glamazons. The shoes may have been flat but the clothes looked as though they'd been at the Sanatogen. Tunics and mid-thigh skirts fizzed with metallic and brocade finishes and opulent Indian beading.
In tune with other designers, Kane opted out of last summer's neons and into sugared almond pastel satins, silks and an aluminium-based organza, which he sliced into slim trousers and gorgeous shift dresses with subtle origami folds. It sounds like classic Jackie O dressing, but typically, Kane refashioned it into something fresh and street wise, pairing some of the mirror-ball shiny pieces with cricket-style sweaters.
There were beaded denim shorts too. This time he was in partnership, with the hugely succesful L.A based J Brand jeans label. They'll retail for about £600 - not the usual definition of a pared-down second line, though they may pare down a few bank accounts. Jeff Rudes, J Brand's founder, cheerfully anticipates the usual waiting list, which will be good for Kane's fledgling company - and that really, is the point of these seemingly whimsical extravagances. As Samantha Cameron said, " these shows bring so many important industry figures to our capital. It's fantastic to see the impact the industry has on our economy". And the miraculous power over our shoes.