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Scot's journey from humble home to a multimillion deal with the owners of Gucci

HE is the talented Scot who rose from humble beginnings to take the fashion world by storm.

IN FASHION: Kane's outfits regularly feature on the catwalk and can cost thousands of pounds. A humble T-shirt costs around £180.

Now Christopher Kane, 30, who grew up in a cramped house with his parents and four siblings before achieving success, has sold a controlling stake worth millions of pounds in his luxury clothing brand.

The deal with French firm PPR, the owners of the Gucci, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney labels, will not only make Kane a fortune but allow him to achieve his dream of opening his first store.

The Christopher Kane clothing range is also expected to be sold and marketed around the world, putting it into markets it will share with its new Italian and British stablemates.

It will also give Kane, whose T-shirts sell for £180 each and dresses and jackets upwards of £2000, his first shop in London before the end of next year.

Kane was spurred on by an ambitious father who worked as an engineer/draughtsman and owned a pub while growing up in Newarthill, near Motherwell, North Lanarkshire.

He stumbled across the idea of becoming a designer one day while watching a TV show. He said: "I saw a thing about it on TV. It was so seductive; for me, from my background, it was like a beacon of light."

In his teenage years, Kane began to think of making a career out of fashion design. He trained with designers Giles Deacon and Russell Sage and graduated from Central St Martins College of Art and Design in London.

His work attracted Donatella Versace by winning the Lancome Colour Award in 2005.

He turned down an offer from the Italian, claiming the move "just wasn't right for me", but has since been a consultant to the fashion house.

Kane created his label in 2006, with his sister, Tammy.

He won New Designer of The Year at the British Fashion Awards the following year, and has since designed costumes for Kylie Minogue, worked with Topshop and jewellery firm Swarovski and single-handedly turned around the fortunes of knitwear firm Johnstons of Elgin.

Kane's deal follows acclaim for his catwalk designs at London Fashion Week last year from critics and fellow designers alike. Within the industry, he is tipped as the new Alexander McQueen.

Kane bases himself full-time in London, where he lives with his boyfriend. However, he makes regular trips home and has worked with the national tourism agency VisitScotland as an ambassador.

PPR, which also owns Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Puma, would not reveal how much it has paid for the 51% stake.

Thomas Mesmin of luxury goods specialist CA Cheuvreux estimated the entire business is worth around £16 million with sales around £8m.

PPR hopes to grow the Christopher Kane brand to annual sales in excess of €100m.

The brand appears to have recorded a near £66,000 loss in its most recent financial year but has previously been profitable.

There are also plans for a wider product range and the introduction of more leather goods and accessories as well as taking the brand into Asia.

Mr Kane said: "I work really closely with my sister and the PPR model fitted us. They have a great history of working with British brands like McCartney and McQueen. They see really great potential in our brand."

Tessa Hartmann, The Herald's fashion editor at large and founder of the Scottish fashion awards, said: "The opportunity for Christopher Kane in that kind of partnership is invaluable and should take him to the next level. He will get the benefit of the PPR distribution network, sourcing of materials and advertising. It makes him a real power player."

Alexis Babeau, managing director of PPR's luxury division, praised the outstanding job Mr Kane and his sister have done in managing their business.

He added: "Our intent is to grow the brand and we have many, many levels to grow with Christopher and his team."

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Fashion

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