>> Last year in May, I revisited and reminisced my teenage memory of Bath, and namely the wonderful Fashion Museum, where I distinctly recall pressing my 14-year old nose up against the glass so that I could better see an 18th century mantua court dress. Who whudda thunk (yes, it’s a whudda thunk moment…) then that over a decade later, my own mug would be in a display at the Fashion Museum. You might have already heard that I was asked to select Dress of the Year for 2013.
No surprise that I took the first opportunity to rectify what I thought was an omission from the DOTY line-up with my choice of a dress from Christopher Kane’s S/S 13 Frankenstein collection. When it was announced that Kering would take a major stake in Kane’s business, that was a crowning point of Kane, and moreover London’s ascent in the industry’s eyes. It’s no longer a will-skip but a must-see city in the roster of fashion weeks. I could have chosen any one of the stellar designers that have emerged in London with not just creative output but sound commercially viable businesses as well, but Kane obviously sticks out as London’s head boy designer. No need for me to re-gush and re-labour my support for Kane – I’ve written reams already and I wear his wares consistently, which is how I put my money where my mouth is. This dress with its components of anarchic black gaffer tape, sweet white lace, pretty pink crystals and a foundation of even prettier pink organza is a perfect example of the way Kane avoids design cliches, busts up conventional style genres and goes so outside of the box, that you end up at an entirely new place you never thought would work. But it does. It always bloody does.
To go with the dress, I paired it up with other London designers that are marking out their own idiosyncratic territory to showcase the diversity of talent that is coming out of the city – a signature pink pencil cap by Nasir Mazhar and a pair of liquorice neon bead shoes by Sophia Webster.
The decision to place an outfit picture behind the mannequin itself was to illustrate the odd nature of my being a selector at all. In amongst the very impressive roll call of names who have selected dresses over the years – Vanessa Friedman, Sarah Mower, Alexandra Shulman, Hamish Bowles – I do stick out somewhat. As an interloping bloody blogger (as some would like to see us) and moreover as someone with an unconventional induction into the industry – together with consultant to the museum Iain R. Webb and curator Rosemary Harden, we thought it might be interesting to contextualise DOTY. If Christopher Kane’s selection is representative of a changing shift in the order of fashion cities where London has become more pre-eminent as a breeding ground for young talent, then me choosing this dress, is also representative of a changing media landscape in fashion. The way we read, consume and find out about fashion has become splintered, sprawling and faster than ever with a multitude of platforms and sources coming at us.
P.S Thank you to Christopher Kane for providing a really ace quote to accompany the display. ”It’s a huge honour to be selected for the Dress of the Year award at the Fashion Museum in Bath, the dress means so much to me. It’s a really good mixture of both tough and sweet. It’s a remarkable dress chosen by a remarkable woman.” *Blush* *Blush* *Blush*
P.P.S. Thanks to Rootstein for creating the mannequin with a razor sharp straight cut fringe and make-up that is doesn’t detract away from the bejewelled dress. It’s my Kim Catrall in Mannequin dream come true!