PPR boss full of praise for new label Christopher Kane
Depending on how you look at it, British designer Christopher Kane had everything and nothing to prove on Monday as he put on his first catwalk show since joining luxury French group PPR.
But his new boss, at least, seemed pleased.
"It was very powerful, sensual, modern, it's very bold," PPR chief executive Francois-Henri Pinault told AFP after watching Kane's London Fashion Week show.
"There were great materials, prints, the style -- everything is very strong in every category, so I'm really impressed. And there's so many things in that show to be taken from to make a strong commercial collection."
Pinault was seated on the front row next to his wife, Mexican actress Salma Hayek, US Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Donatella Versace, a long-time fan of the Scottish designer who gave him a job when he graduated.
Shortly after leaving Central Saint Martin's fashion college in 2006, Kane started his own label with his sister Tammy.
They quickly became the hottest ticket in town, but last month they hit the big time when PPR acquired a 51-percent stake in the label.
The French group has taken fellow British labels Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney into the global league, but Kane insists he feels under no extra pressure as his relatively small business is launched into the world.
"Every season is a pressure, it's just part and parcel of the job. Obviously people had so many expectations. But every season you need to up it -- I'll always work harder," he said backstage after the show in the City of London.
Kane told AFP that the takeover "obviously has the financial benefits -- it means you can really relax on the creative side. But we're grafters and we love to work hard".
The 30-year-old took his time in choosing a partner, and says he is thrilled with PPR so far.
"They really respect integrity, that creative process and that's what they want to nurture. They are just pretty amazing," he said.
The autumn/winter collection was like several shows in one, showing everything from skirts and coats in blue camouflage prints, barely-decent dresses made of large, lace-like flower and coil designs, and elegant shifts in blue and black velvet.
The models walked a runway spanning the entire eighth floor of an unoccupied glass building to thumping beats, the essence of the hip young designer which fits perfectly with Pinault's vision for the family firm.
Pinault said he tries to balance mature brands with fresh faces, explaining: "It's always interesting to see how a young designer sees the future -- it's another way of conceiving the world.
"Mixing it altogether, I think it's very healthy for the whole company."
© 2013 AFP