Christopher Kane is a perfectionist. The designer was to talk about his work with Versus, Donatella Versace's less expensive label, but the interview has been postponed, until after Kane's presentation of the Versus collection for fall/winter 2010. It seems Kane wants to change the way the collection will be revealed and a new set has to be built at Milan's Teatro Versace. Gone are the Greek-style plinths that he used so successfully for his spring/summer 2010 collection in September 2009, which he was going to use again. In their place will be a theatrical mini-parade followed by a still-life tableau of ing?nue models teetering on nine-inch heels. But Kane is no prima donna. In fact the skinny slip of a 20-something black-clad shadow could be mistaken for a teenage newspaper boy. The set change is about being a perfectionist, and that's one reason why Donatella Versace loves him so much, and why Kane loves her. 'Ever since I started doing the Versus collection, Donatella has given me free rein,' he says after his presentation, which featured form-hugging dresses in plum, navy, green and orange; colours inspired by T-shirts Donatella designed in the '90s during her collaboration with the photographer Bruce Weber and stylist Joe McKenna. 'It has been great to access that archive,' purrs Kane in a smooth Scottish brogue. 'There are so many amazing details that Donatella did in the past. It's great to take pieces and make them more modern for today.' Kane has been practicing his classical modernism since graduating from Central St Martins College of Art and Design in London five years ago. Versace became his mentor when Kane was finishing his graduation project and wrote to her about borrowing some silver mesh. By 2007 he had become her consultant after he designed neon-lace dresses that became like fashion-crack cocaine for insatiable celebrities. In 2008 Versace asked Kane to join her in an effort to revive the Versus line, which she had started in 1990. The label had become dormant in 2000, soon after Versace had been forced to take over the entire Versace empire following the murder of her brother Gianni, in 1997. Kane agreed to accept the task, even though he was already at work on the seventh collection for his own eponymous label. His decision seems to have been largely motivated by his adoration of Versace. 'What Donatella has done in the past decade changed Versace and changed fashion,' he says. 'I'm so lucky to have encountered her four years ago as a student, when I knew nothing. I have been re-educated by her.' And, according to Kane, Versace's apparently frosty exterior conceals a heart of gold. 'We have so much fun together it's not really a challenge,' he says. 'She is such a grounded, remarkable woman - funny, eccentric, and controlled.' Kane has brought a magic of his own to Versus, turning out two collections that have won significant critical acclaim. Among the pieces that appeared in the Teatro Versace for the Versus collection that arrived in Hong Kong stores this month Kane's signature colour can be seen everywhere. 'I can't imagine a Versus collection without a red dress,' he says. 'Red is so empowering, it's one of my signatures. Even as a student I designed red dresses. It's a hard colour to work with, but if it's a success, there's nothing better.' The presentation of the Versus collection was also a showcase for the intimate relationship that Kane and Versace have developed. At the end of each of the three run-throughs of the presentation - while a huge crowd waited outside in the theatre's lobby for their turn - Versace would lead Kane out by the hand. Both were unperturbed by all the fuss. 'She really is a big sister,' he says. 'I felt it today. She is so tough with everybody, with the press and she says, 'Just smile, it doesn't cost anything,' and it's true. She tells me, 'Don't let anyone know what you are really feeling'. It's good advice.' Kane's work with Versace has also had a feedback effect on the designer's own label, which he runs with his sister Tammy. 'From working at Versus I have learned so much about the infrastructure of a huge maison,' he says. 'I can take some things back to my own label and teach them Tammy and the 12 other people who work there.' But even when he is riding the Versace learning curve Kane is acutely aware that his mentor's maison has things his own label can never have, such as a DNA steeped in the blood of Italian tailoring. 'The craftsmen in Italy make it so easy; at Versace you have pattern cutters with 20 years' experience who have worked with Gianni and Donatella,' he says. 'Their seamstresses will send things back looking so perfect and that's just the trial piece. All of this has made me more involved in my own label and has shown me what changes to make. I go back to my label and I say 'That's just not good enough'. As a result the quality has improved.' Apart from the Versace archive, Kane finds many of his inspirations in film and television. He is an especially big fan of directors Stephen King and John Waters. 'I love Carrie for example [directed by King] and that movie has found echoes in my own collection,' he says, agreeing, with a wry laugh, that Carrie does have 'a lot of red in it,' before pointing to one of his other favorites. 'I love Hairspray [directed by Waters] but even stuff in soap operas can inspire me. When you are a kid you are like a sponge. It's one thing I recommend to parents; that they introduce their kids to all sorts of cinema and TV.' The final version of Kane's fall/winter 2010 presentation showed how much he has been influenced by such movies. The models all ended up standing in a line, like something from a high school beauty pageant in a 1960s summer film, a concept that was a masterstroke from the perspective of the audience. At most fashion shows onlookers get to see the clothes twice on the runway. At Kane's presentation the audience could see the clothes moving on the models as they made their way around the back of the staging and then could study the hang and cut of the pieces after the women had come back to play at being statues. It's the kind of exposure a lot of designers are scared of, but not Kane, who is determined to marry style, modern technology and value for money. 'Technology has been a huge advantage for the fashion industry because there is so much Internet shopping and people want things now,' he says. 'Technology is opening up a new way of seeing collections. People want more; they want aspirational clothes. They want the dress to say 'she's arrived'.' And Kane has definitely arrived, although it's hard to imagine him wearing anything other than a black t-shirt with black jeans, his outfit for both of the Versus collections he has presented so far. All the attention that is now heading his way could make him conceited, but that's not his way. 'I do feel pressure, but pressure keeps me focused and grounded,' he says. 'I was brought up by a tough mum and dad who kept me honest and made me work. Work is good. I am like a good Presbyterian with a Scottish ethic, like one of the Victorians. And Donatella is the same way. She always tells me 'this is work, work, work and only 1 per cent party time.'' And then he's off, dashing to the Four Seasons for a meeting with Vogue's Anna Wintour before flying to London, where he starts work on his label's collection for spring/summer 2011. And, if his last six collections are anything to go by, his next will be just as closely watched.