If Christopher Kane is fashion’s Willy Wonka, his golden ticket is the platinum-tressed design powerhouse Donatella Versace. The young Scot came to the attention of the Italian diva and Anna Wintour, Vogue’s editor, when he was still a student at Central Saint Martins fashion college in London. Just seven months after his graduation show—and having turned down a juicy full-time position atVersace in favor of a more modest consulting gig for the house’s Versus collection—Kane introduced his signature label of colorful body-con looks to the world.
Showered with awards from the start, Kane first made his mark with sexy little Lolita dresses: neon bandage minis trimmed in lace, and peekaboo numbers in gingham. Fans learned quickly, though, that he wasn’t afraid to stray from his pop-bright neo-eighties formula. For instance, his surprising spring 2009 collection featured simian photo prints inspired by Planet of the Apes; a collection for Topshop also featured images of savage beasts. (Why all the zoology? “I did that because I am afraid of animals,”he explained to The Times of London.) Longevity founded on versatility is his goal: “I really want to give women options,” he told Vogue in 2010, “so the style of every new collection is always completely different from the last.