At LG Fashion Week, a good man is hard to find. With women's wear lines proving surplus, and Joe Fresh rethinking their options for guys, it seems that men's wear presentations are few and far between. And one can count the dude-centric labels that are actually covetable on less than one hand.
Krane, the seven-year-old brand started by Toronto's Ken Chow, is among the top tier. Eschewing the standard designer formula of gleaning inspiration from different avenues each season, Chow, who presented his first runway show at LG Tuesday afternoon, is progressively building on Krane's existing foundation. He is, well, creating an identity. And a strong one at that.
"I've been playing with military ideas since I began," Chow said backstage, attributing his army obsession to when he entered Remembrance Day poster competitions as a kid. He's brought that focus to Krane by way of vintage fabrics and signature detailing. To wit, those murky army green coats, beautifully cut and proportioned? They may have looked like boiled wool, but were actually Italian military blankets, salvaged from the mothballed 1940s and restored with care. Small silver rivets appeared on hard-edged bags, collars and coats. For a line so young, they've quickly become its signature.
Chow initially started by making waxed-cotton bags, a material he's pushed forward into fish-tail parkas with hoods lined in fur, trousers and dinner jackets. Much like those sturdy blankets, the waxed stuff only gets better with age. And despite distancing himself from an underlying theme, that mantra seems to be at the core of the collection, which also saw Chow expand his use of leather, another medium that improves with time. They flew high in shearling-collared aviator jackets and bombers, and got kinky on shirtless guys sporting one-shouldered harnesses and barely-there vests. Grouped with the bags and coats that hung on meat hooks, it gave off a bit of a sexy butcher vibe.
But what lies beneath the beautiful bulk and supple skin is just as strong: Impeccable shirting, striped and contrast-collared stood out, even when layered underneath those blankets, jackets and harnesses. Whether in leather or waxed-up to look like it, trousers did too.
There's a strength to Krane that sets its apart from everything else. Perhaps it's the solid sense of identity and purpose - the entire line, down to the leathers - is manufactured in Canada and plans to stay that way. A salute to that, and to a solid fashion week debut.