Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

Christopher Kane yesterday announced that PPR have acquired a 51% stake in his business. Though it's not the end of Kane's story by any stretch of the imagination, its a huge milestone. To put it into context, I've compiled everything you need to know about Christopher from his Scottish beginnings to international fashion stardom in a kind of This Is Your Life style. It's quite a tale...

26th JULY 1982: Christopher Kane is born in the village of Newarthill, near Glasgow. Speaking about the area where he grew up, Chris says "Deprived areas are always the best dressed". He's the youngest of five children- brothers Jimmy and Robert, Sandra, who now heads up his Human Resources, and Tammy, his muse, constant collaborator, model and business partner. His Father Thomas, who died ten years ago, was a Draughtsman. His Mum, Christine, always gets a front row seat at his shows, of course.

EARLY 90s: Kane's Dad bought the first Satellite dish in their town. TV was a huge part of their life with their Auntie Sandra letting the Kane kids stay up late to watch horror films. Chris would religiously watch Versace Couture shows on Fashion TV, as well as Jeanne Barker's reports from the shows.

1994: Twelve year-old Christopher saves up his pocket money to buy Tammy a bright pink Versace Jeans Couture rubber dress for her school prom. Tammy remembers, "the teachers almost had a heart attack".
Chris and Tammy celebrate Louise Wilson's OBE (via
MID 90s: Chris goes to Taylor High, a Catholic school in Newarthil. Chris's art teacher, Jane Broughan, spots a talent and encourages him to take up life-drawing classes at Glasgow School of Art. At 14, he brought her an illustrated essay on Versace, including miniature outfits on hangers he had fashioned himself.

2000: Christopher moved to London and began studying at Central Saint Martin's, first completing a Foundation Degree in Fine Art. He goes on to do the BA in Fashion. While studying, he interned at Giles Deacon's studio: "I worked there for a couple of months as an intern. I didn’t really have any contact with Giles, but I absorbed how it all worked. It was a really useful experience."

2004- 2006: Kane does the legendary Fashion MA at Central Saint Martins under the watchful eye of Professor Louise Wilson. One night, he shows her "a nude lace dress made of stockings and cheap lace he’d bought at a Dalston market", according to Kane "Louise was smoking at the time. She looked at it, took a long draw, and said, ‘That. Is. Fucking amazing.’". Tammy was working in an Aston Martin showroom at the time but Chris would do his fittings on her after work.

Kane's MA graduate collection- March 2006 (image via
MARCH 2006: His MA show- a collection inspired by Melanie Griffith in Working Girl- is a huge hit, winning him the Harrods Design Award. Donatella Versace and Anna Wintour get in touch. He's signed on as a consultant for Versace after turning down a full-time design role .

Melanie Griffith as Tess McGill in Working Girl
20th SEPTEMBER 2006: Kane gets NEWGEN for Spring/ Summer 2007 and does his first LFW show. It is widely declared to be a fashion moment.

"All this had been accomplished in Kane's rented living room in the East End with his sister, model, and business manager, Tammy—and a little help from Donatella" wrote Sarah Mower.

JANUARY 2007: Christopher designs his first capsule collection for Topshop. He says "Fashion is becoming more and more demographic and this will make my clothes more accessible."

2007: Christopher Kane for Topshop (image via

FEBRUARY 13th 2007: The second collection in Kane's repertoire takes a dark turn, with a man-eating woman summing up the mood. Shoes were by Manolo Blahnik. That "fashion moment" seemed to have turned into something with real commercial possibilities; 22 dresses from the SS07 collection had sold in two days at Browns.

SEPTEMBER 2007: Kane wins Scottish Designer of the Year, but then disaster strikes as 23 pieces and a lap-top are stolen from the studio days before his SS08 show.

OCTOBER 2007: He dresses Beth Ditto for Swarovski Fashion Rocks. He later tells Opening Ceremony's Humberto Leon,  "I love Beth – she is beautiful inside and out. If you have a connection with someone, it shouldn't matter what clothes size they are."
Beth Ditto in Christopher Kane (image via
NOVEMBER 2007: Wins Best New Designer at the British Fashion Awards

JUNE 2008: Kane gets Fashion Forward sponsorship from the BFC, the next step in establishing brand Christopher Kane.

FEBRUARY 2009: Spring/ Summer sells out on Net-a-Porter in an astonishing 24 hours.

MAY 2009: Ever eager to make his designs democratic, Christopher launches a t-shirt line featuring key motifs from each season's collection. The BBC follows the Kane crew for a documentary Raising Kane: Fashion's New Star.

Model in a monkey tee (image from
SEPTEMBER 2009: Christopher designs his first Versus collection which is shown at a presentation in Milan. Chris's Mum and sister Sandra give a super sweet interview to the Daily Record about how they always knew he'd make it in fashion.
Versus SS10 (via
SEPTEMBER 2010: Back to neon for a "Princess Margaret on acid" collection. Fluoro lace clutch bags emerged around this time as Kane's first experiment with accessories, not that it was completely intentional, “Tammy was unwell for a couple of weeks and I made them as a little ‘get well’ gift. I thought it would cheer her up.” Chris told The Times.
"Neon gets me going" (image via
FEBRUARY 2011: J Brand collaboration announced. Chris and Tammy had already worked with the L.A denim label on the 5x5 project the previous year.
Christopher Kane for J Brand Resort '12
EARLY 2012: Tammy gives birth to baby Bonnie who then stars in her own LOVE magazine shoot a few months later, obvs. 

JULY 2012: Duchess of Cambridge wears Christopher Kane at the Olympics Opening ceremony

Kate in Kane (image via
Chris on Hampstead Heath with loads of hot, young girls dressed in his AW12 collection, Dominque Young, Tali Lennox, Mickey Sumner and Cara Delvingne (image from
NOVEMBER 2012: Kane denies that he is about to take over at Balenciaga, following Nicolas Ghesquiere's departure. It is also announced that he will no longer design for Versus.

JANUARY 2013: PPR buys a 51% stake in the Christopher Kane business. 

What next in the modern fashion fairytale???

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