With a primary band of colour, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim rekindle Kenzo’s Japanese roots for the SS16 wayfaring woman.
The Kenzo Spectacular
Ever known a time when Kenzo hasn’t been an eclectic showstopper? Season on season, duo Humberto Leon and Carol Lim manage to pull a colour bursting fusion of something new yet something extrinsically Kenzo without compromising on the core of the Kenzo ethos. The pair have worked together on moving the brand forward; this was metaphorically replicated by the remote controlled conveyer belt blocks which transported the stationary models down the catwalk. Backstage Leon noted that they always want the shows to feel spectacular, and “for people to walk away with an impression.” Certainly this is achieved by the brand more often than not, this season of mustard yellow as well as a primary colour palette of cobalt blue, yellow and crushing reds being no exception.
Channelling the Inner Japanese
There is something slightly different at work this season though, it’s as if Leon and Lim have re-injected the Japanese aesthetic back into Kenzo’s shapes and prints. Of course, the founding Kenzo Takada was Japanese but lived in Paris, and the current designer duo are American-Asian but not Japanese natives themselves. There’s obviously a conscience aim this season to reignite – perhaps even to remind – the current day viewer of Kenzo’s heritage and inspiration. Humberto Leon confirms this suspicion while chatting to the press backstage: “We feel the spirit of Kenzo; we channel our inner Japanese with this brand. We want the heritage to be apparent and for Kenzo Takada to sit in the audience and feel: ‘they are thinking of me.”
The quintessential Kenzo has always had wanderlust in its heart, Kenzo Takada’s first collection under the new brand lauched in 1970 is a perfect example of this. Inspired by all the things the modern woman takes with her when she is travelling, SS16 includes belts with different purses and pouches attached (think a more chic version of the classic bumbag) and undergarments that look like they could also be swimwear (a well accustomed travelling trick known by any woman with limited luggage space). Even the thigh high gladiator sandals look like they could be worn for hours on end. In fact, most of the shoes from the modest pump to the thick-soled wrap sandal embody the basic function of footwear for on-the-go. Our verdict? There’s no flight we’ll want to be hopping on to next summer without a bag belt and a classically bold and bright Kenzo macramé knit.
Words: Hannah Sargeant