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My Cultural Life: Christopher Kane

The Scottish fashion designer tells us what he’s watching, listening to and more...

christopher kane
Harpers Bazaar

One of Britain’s best loved fashion designers, Scottish-born Christopher Kane had attracted the attention of Donatella Versace by the time he’d graduated from Central Saint Martins. His eponymous brand, launched in 2006 with sister Tammy Kane, draws on a wealth of references from bondage to botanical diagrams, while The Joy of Sex mantra ‘More Joy’ evolved into an accidental slogan and sparked its own accessories and homeware collections. The winner of five British Fashion Awards, he was named Designers’ Designer of the Year in 2019.

The first album I loved? Illuminations by Buffy Sainte-Marie has had a profound impact on my personal and working life. Buffy was, and still is, a pioneer. She is authentic in everything she has done in her life in terms of the look, the music, the activism.

Currently, I’m listening to a lot of Italian disco. I love Patty Pravo and Mina. My partner Mao is Italian so he shares music with me.

francis bacon in your blood
Bloomsbury Publishing

My guilty pleasure is audiobooks. I’m listening to Francis Bacon in Your Blood by Michael Peppiatt. I can multitask while listening to Peppiatt talk about spending time with such an iconic artist.

I love TV. I binge-watched Westworld, which was fantastic, and I’m re-watching some old British classics like Band of Gold and This Life. Also, you must watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. It’s hours of drama, entertainment, comedy and buckets of glamour.

maggie smith the prime of miss jean brodie
AF archive / Alamy Stock Photo

My favourite film is The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie, which I’ve loved since I was a kid and watch about six times a year. Maggie Smith is mesmerising – it’s an acting masterclass – and her style is iconic.

My most recent cultural discovery was my first Thanksgiving in America. I had American flatmates at college, but never experienced it in the US. I enjoyed a very festive gathering in upstate New York.

egon schiele embrace
Artepics / Alamy Stock Photo

One of the most impactful exhibitions I’ve seen was Egon Schiele’s works. They’re breathtaking: so sexual but also alive and emotive.

galerie gugging
Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Budapest

The gallery that has really stayed with me is The Galerie Gugging in Vienna. It’s such a special place that houses some of today’s most talented Outsider artists in residence. I’m a huge fan of Outsider Art (works produced by self-taught creatives with little or no contact with the mainstream art world), and I have many pieces from their collection. The works are pure, with no pretence, no ego – they are just beautiful expressions straight from the heart.

I have a collection of name cards. I take them from almost every dinner party. I tend to find them in jacket pockets, and each one holds a memory from that night.

My most-loved quote is ‘To me, bad taste is what entertainment is all about,’ said by John Waters. You can’t argue with Waters. Taste is something I play with in my work. I don’t think there is such a thing as good or bad taste, as it’s all about different tastes. That said, some of Waters’s characters really do look the height of bad taste; they have made me laugh so hard over the years.

palm springs
Cody Board/Unsplash

One of my favourite places to visit is Palm Springs. Sun, amazing architecture and nightlife. What’s not to love? I also adore India and Japan – I enjoy immersing myself in the local cultures, shopping and staying at the most amazing hotels.

This year is about good health, travelling and exciting new projects for Christopher Kane and More Joy. I also turn 40 in 2022, so I’ll make sure to do something fun with friends and family. christopherkane.com

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